The contents of this supplement are a little immature, especially as far as travel goes, considering the bulk of the authors and photographers are new to the game. Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia... these are not the Himalayas, Burundi or even Russia. Most of your friendly neighbourhood student journalists are not that different than your average suburban kid, we start small--going for a piss-up in Amsterdam--and then "discover" the "undiscovered" parts of Paris, go clubbing in Berlin, or find "the truth" in Ibiza.
That's not to say the following dozen pages lack passion or honesty, quite the contrary; the words and images we have cobbled together for you here are a but a taste of the content submitted to us. You see, for many who set off on a trip longer than a week or two, the experience itself is addictive, it is something you can never shake and never get enough of. For that reason, there is a great deal more to peruse online at gauntlet.ucalgary.ca.
A mere jaunt to the electronic alter ego of this print media empire and a veritable plethora of anecdotes, helpful pointers, and postcards from around the world will be at your fingertips. From the French mafia lending a helping hand, to being tossed from a moving train, to the perils of cloistering yourself in a hot car with a soon-to-be-not-so-significant other, you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll curse the fact you're not trotting the globe yourself.
The stories that come with traveling, and the friends you collect along the way tend to be the best parts.
For instance, while spending Christmas and New Year's splitting time between Paris and the Netherlands your two humble editors got into all kinds of fun situations.
We inadvertently became beloved regulars at an IRA bar in Paris, where bitching about Emile Heskey was a near daily event. We sat, speechless, in an Amsterdam coffee shop, watching relatives featured on an English language documentary. We met up with Polish aunts who fed us until we were set to burst and reunited with beautiful Brazillians at nameless cafes. Hell, we even got a curious British friend too stoned to speak and then feasted on McDonald's-- something neither of us is particularly proud of.
All that in a 10-day span.
But that is truly the flagrant, decadent, more touristy approach, and should always be the exception, not the rule. An adventure such as travel should be something undertaken with the goal of remembering the smells, sounds, tastes, colours and textures, something more than a blissful blur of over-opiated meanderings.
Many first-time travellers who venture to safe European locales will follow their guidebooks, they will see the requisite sites and they will enjoy an experience which will never be duplicated.
Europe, with its relative safety and ease, is an eye-opening place and many "find themselves" over there. But many discover the joy of youthful travel lays not on the beaten path, but in the exuberance and reckless abandon with which the journey is undertaken.
When else will you be able to quit your job on a whim, leaving your life behind to lose yourself on the buses, trains and backroads of Marrakesh, Caracas or Lvov?
As youth is a time where responsibility is a four-letter word, something to be avoided as long as humanly possible, and as summer is a time to decompress--both mentally and physically--from and arduous (or perhaps not so arduous) eight months of academia, traveling between May and August makes a lot of sense.
Whether it's taking off to see the world or taking a more intimate look at our home and native land, the freedom of travel is unmatched. There is an incredible strength and confidence born of the knowledge that when you awake in the morning it's all up to you. Don't like where you are? Find a train and explore someplace new. Don't feel like doing a damn thing? Don't.
While this travel supplement is rich in great stories, the greatest travel stories have yet to be written. They will come from you, as you discover Europe, follow the path through Asia, and maybe venture to Africa, or Brazil, or worse.
We hope this gets you started, or reminds you what you're missing.
Kris Kotarski & Lawrence Bailey
Mike Attersall, Cory Bass, Chris Beauchamp, Adam Berti, Tara DiBenedetto, Patrick Boyle, Falice Chin, Karoline Czerski, Emily Elder, Roma Ilnyckyj, Veronika Janik, Jesse Keith, Sunita LeGallou, John Leung, Herb Mathisen, Gary Milner, Garth Paulson, Emily Senger, Natalie Sit, Madeleine Somerville, Anna Sobotka, Matthew Stambaugh, Salima Stanley-Bhanji, Chris Tait, Edward Tse, Michael Wickson