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Group Travel or Group Therapy

It was with more than enough skepticism, worry and fear, that I went on my first organized group trip. I’ve never hesitated to hire local guides, but I’ve always chosen to travel solo or with friends/family with a flexible itinerary and open mind. So why, might you ask, did I choose to go with a group of strangers to Patagonia? Hopefully, though the cathartic experience of writing this blog, I might just discover the answer myself.

Here’s some obvious reasons WHY:

- Though I had plenty of friends that wanted to go with me to share experiences and costs, none could make the commitment, and I couldn’t wait. So it became a solo or group decision.


On Tynan

Later in the day, after spending hours exploring the pyramids in Cairo, we rented some busted up four-wheelers and took to the desert behind the pyramids. Driving over a huge dune, pyramids being revealed as you ascend, is a truly breathtaking sight. You can almost imagine what it would have been like to ride a camel across the desert and to see them for the first time. One thing that would have been different back then, though, is that you wouldn't see any trash. Today the desert is littered with flattened plastic bottles, clothes, and even an occasional boot.

For a visitor, it's sad to see the trash. The desert is more beautiful than one would expect. It's full of striated rocks, fossilized shells from when the Nile was much higher, and coral from the same time. But the Egyptians, for the most part, don't notice or care about the trash. The desert has it good compared to most of the city. Every bit of street has a little bit of trash on it, and some parts have a lot.

At first, when you see someone dump a bag of fast-food detritus out of their car window, it's alarming. But after even a couple days, it seems normal. The last night I was there I had a small plastic bag I couldn't find a trash can for, and part of my brain wanted to just throw it on the street. It would be a drop in the ocean. So I understand partly why it happens: momentum.

Visiting somewhere like Tokyo is the exact opposite. Even though the city is maddeningly absent of trash cans, the thought of littering would never even cross your mind. The city is pristine, and you'll never see a resident litter. Their momentum is the opposite of Egypt's.

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