I consider myself a bit of a beer snob, so if I had to recall the best beer I ever had, the answer might surprise you a little. It was a friday about a week in to my bicycle ride to florida, and we had stopped for the night at lunch rock. We were starving. We had been living on dehydrated vegetables and army rations since we had left home, and as for beverages, a bland, artificially sweetened drink powder packed in with the army food was the most flavorful thing to cross our lips. It was around dusk and we were making ourselves comfortable, when a husband and wife with their two children happened upon our campsite, and as they approached we noticed a cooler in their hand. Immediately, our food and drink fantasies began. We ended up talking with them for several minutes about our trip, and about the area, but, as we would confess to each other later, always with the hopes of a surprise treat from that cooler in the back of our minds. Eventually the family left, having invigorated and entertained us with their stories and friendship, but also having crushed our hopes of libations and gastronomic delights. My riding companion, Bryce, had just turned to me to say "Man, I thought we were scoring a few brews or something!" when who else but one of the visitors would re-emerge from the darkened path with a gift of two Miller lites for we two weary travelers.
This story isn't about beer. It's about the allure of travel and how it can change your perception of things; about living simply; and about enjoying the small things along the way. Traveling, especially traveling very light, is the best medicine I've found for whatever troubles you. Even if its only for a day, whittling your life down to what can fit in a backpack instantly shakes off the worries of the world and makes all the the little surprises more special when they come along. I don't even like Miller Lite, but that night it was more enjoyable than any nice craft brew I might be able to come across at my house today. I'd like to always live so simply.
You may have read this story before on my old blog, but if not, you should take a look at it. There are plenty of other interesting thoughts and experiences to read about there too.