Lazy Backpacker Syndrome

I’m in Bled, Slovenia.  This is a place at the foot of the Alps, reminiscent of Lake Tahoe, California.  There is a massive freshwater lake, surrounded by gorgeous forest and mountains, complete with castle and alpine cottages.  When we arrived, Carlos (our guide) gave us numerous options of things to do – whitewater rafting, canyoning, horseback riding, paragliding, skydiving – but I decided to take it easy and pass on these activities.

Then the feeling of guilt started to kick in.  This is common among backpackers, especially when you have been on the road for over a month.

You’ve done a lot.  It might not always seem like it, but you have actually been pretty busy.  You’re in an attractive little town, and you kind of want to take it easy.

But what about Carpe Diem?  Is passing up activities really living life to its fullest?

I figured I’d take it easy today, but there was a knock on my door just after breakfast, and I was told that some of the other Eastern Trekkers were heading out for a toboggan ride and a swim.

This is where the conflict started.  To be lazy and take a break from the constant pace of travelling, or go out and push myself to do something.

Of course, the answer is always to go out and do it.  So I did.

And, like always, I did not regret my decision.  I was in a group of seven, and we walked around Lake Bled until we hit the toboggan course.  There was a chair lift up to the top, with predictably fantastic views, and predictably dodgy toboggans.  I jumped into one, got strapped in and given instructions from the elderly Slovenian man running the ride:

“Forward, Go.  Back, Stop.”

Next thing I knew, I was sailing down a mountain in a small plastic vehicle attached to a singular metal track.

There was some screaming and some unnecessary braking, but it was so fun I got up there and did it a second time (2x for 10 euro).

After that, we walked further down the track and went for a swim.  Lake Bled has a small island in the center, and on this island is a church.  Legend goes that if you make a wish and ring the bell of the church, your wish will come true.

Well, I’ve kissed the Blarney Stone, so I’m not one to scoff at legends.  I jumped in the water and swam my six weeks of unfit body across the lake to that island.

We were accompanied by two of our group in a rowboat, so the cameras could come along.  I envied the rowers, because halfway across the lake I had a minor anxiety attack, convinced that i was going to choke on my hair and drown.  Of course, this did not happen, we all reached the island safely, and rang the bell.

No word yet on that wish fulfillment thing, but it’s always worth a try.

Tomorrow it’s an early start, back on the bus, and on to Salzburg.  You might recall that I passed through Salzburg a few weeks ago, promising to return.  Now that time is here, and I’m still shocked at how quickly the time passes.

Every day reinforces the fact that no matter how much I might want to cop out and be lazy, it’s always worth it to suck it up and try something different.  Even if you are careening down a mountainside without a helmet.


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