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Published: October 30th 2016
The air was dripping with suspense when we gathered for the Crenshaw-Roehler Travel Summit back in 2015. It certainly wasn't the first time we convened for a meeting like this and hopefully it wouldn't be the last, but this particular meeting had a special mix of suspense, secrecy and urgency. I don't think anyone knew how it would turn out and I don't think anyone really knew what would be presented. It seemed we had barely unpacked after travelling to Oman and the United Arab Emirates before we were fielding questions about our next adventure. The summit was called so that we could affirmatively answer this pressing question.
The summits all share a similarity in that the members, Dad, Kyle and me, each present a list of trip ideas that have been held in confidence until the big reveal. We go around the table presenting one trip idea at a time while also caucusing the others to consider the proposed trip. Once all the trips have been considered, we look at possible overlaps (was the same trip suggested by multiple people), bucket list considerations or particularly intriguing proposals. We attempt to narrow the list to 2-3 countries or trips before we conclude the first of several trip summits.
In between meetings, research is conducted, activities are considered and best times to travel are examined. This is also when some people may continue to try to promote one particular destination to others to swing a vote in their favor. At the next meeting, another vote is taken and a final destination is determined. During this process eyes are rolled, pearls are clutched and downright heckling heard, but inevitably a destination is always determined.
This year seemed different and I can't quite put my finger on why. Maybe because so many bucket lists had been checked. Maybe because no one had been antsy to go to one particular spot. Maybe because we were still hung over from the excitement of the previous trip. I am not entirely sure. I knew the last two trips were very camel-centric and fulfilled many of my dreams, so I felt like I needed to see what dad and Kyle brought to the table before my suggestions were considered.
The big reveal is always the best part. What countries will make the list? What new ideas will surface? Will we consider returning to a place we have already been? We did require that everyone consider one return trip, if even just to see what would be proposed.
We considered Mongolia, Ethiopia/Djibouti, Cyprus, Morocco, Bahrain, Mali, Saudi Arabia and Ecuador. The country that showed up on everyone's list was Iran. And the proposed return trips? India, Turkey and Tunisia. None of those were too surprising. We had seen them all on each other's lists before. Kyle added the Maldives to his proposed India trip and said it was on any SCUBA diver's bucket list.
After much deliberating and considering, we narrowed it down between Iran and India/Maldives. Two very different trips and two very intriguing trips. The two options left a lot of questions in the air. In a world so big, do we return to a country we have visited several times before? With unstable government issues, could we even get into Iran legally?
We also considered what drew us to this choices. Both countries promised fanastic food options (a big plus for all three of us). Both coutries offered new and exotic experiences (India is so big, we will have to visit it a dozen times to even begin to cover the country). Iran inevitably shows up on our travel every time we hold a summit and offers historical and cultural intrigue to all three of us. India had a few perks we couldn't help but consider: Delhi is home to Kyle's suit guy (custom made suits are to Kyle as camels are to me); we have wonderful connections with Indian Moments (which means we would have exciting, yet seamless travels); and, maybe I forgot to mention, India has camels...lots and lots of camels.
With all of these great options and the big world before us, you can see why so much consideration and deliberation is necessary. But with all of these options, you never know how votes will land. What happened next, none of us could have predicted.
Notes and travel books scattered all over the floor. Continuous banter about pros, cons and costs. No one willing to cast a vote. And then mom walks through the room on her way to do something around the house. "Where are you considering going this time?" "We can't decide between Iran and India." "Iran??? What?? I will pay for your airline tickets if you take Iran off the list."
And there you go. We are heading to India and then the Maldives. No one ever said our votes couldn't be bought!
Watch for our upcoming blogs from India. We are off to celebrate Diwali and then to Pushkar Camel Festival.
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