TRAVEL BY HOBBY: GLOBE TROT WITH PASSION
I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot of the world so far. There was that time I got to sip champagne in Reims, France, the champagne region of the world. And the weekend I spent in Kyoto, Japan, when a group of us visited some of the city’s fantastic temples and ate blowfish at a local restaurant. (OK, it was cooked—any points for that?) Nothing, though, compares to when I slipped into my dance shoes at a café in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and willed my body to move in time with a stranger who had just asked me to tango.
And that’s because in all of the places I’ve traveled I could never shake the feeling that I was always going to be The Tourist. And the kind people hosting me, or those helping me figure out how to read my map, were always going to remain The Locals. But, tango helped me transcend this divide by allowing me to actively participate in Argentinean culture. In fact, tango has shown me completely new sides to cities I already thought I knew. Last summer, I wound up gliding along the floor with some pretty good dancers in Los Angeles—at an Elks Lodge, of all places.
Laura Lanktree, FLARE’s 28-year-old Toronto-based web editor who packs bikinis first, everything else second, has also discovered parts of the world she otherwise would have never ventured to, had it not been for her love of surfing. “All of my trips since 2005, when I first learned [how to surf] have revolved around the sport,” she confesses. “It has led me to destinations I wouldn’t have prioritized before, like Central and South America—both of which I can’t wait to revisit.”
When Lanktree is riding the waves in these foreign places, the fact that she isn’t a native becomes completely irrelevant. She has an instant bond with her fellow surfers. “I always find it difficult to explain the rush of surfing to someone who’s never been on a board or battled with a wave,” she says. “I could recover from a near-drowning experience and the first thing I want to do is get back out there—only another surfer could understand why.”
This feeling of camaraderie resonates with Catherine Konopelky, a 31-year-old yoga teacher and massage therapist living in Guelph, Ont. Her love for yoga not only fuelled her desire to travel to India, but it also enabled her to participate and understand the local customs.