March 7, 2008

Late-Blooming Traveler Catches the Bug in Mallorca


This week's Guest Bogger Kristin Carpenter-Ogden discusses the joys of travel and climbing.I didn’t travel internationally until I was in my mid-twenties. I’m not proud of this, but as one of four kids growing up in a wealth-challenged household, I’m not surprised by it either. I was indoctrinated to travel through my boyfriend, now my husband. We started dating, and one day he surprised me with the fact that he’d bought me a ticket to Barcelona (two kids later, things are so not this romantic currently, but we have the memories!). I had been to Europe before, but it was to cover a trade show in Munich as a journalist. In his opinion, that trip did not count, and I completely understand why now.


The trip comprised a climbing itiniery and a tight group of his friends. The destination was Mallorca, and I’ll forever look at that experience as one of the best of my life. I bonded with my now best girlfriend, and made a couple of other friends who I consider to be lifers. More important, however, was the expanded perspective that I gained through international travel. From navigating customs, to figuring out currency, to renting a car from a shady person in a parking garage, to clubbing in a foreign country to the wee hours of the morning, to wandering around aimlessly looking for crags and routes within them, I gained hold of my internal renegade adventurer. It’s a personality trait that serves me now as a parent, marital partner, and business owner.

I’ve since traveled a lot alone and with my husband and best friend since that trip. I now understand how that trip changed my expectations around travel. Climbing is a gift in many ways, but allowing it to filter a travel experience forever changes the concept of travel.


When you travel with a climbing destination in mind, you end up visiting a lot of towns off of the beaten path. Going to Mallorca was fantastic in this way. We hardly saw any tourists because we were traveling through tiny towns, complete with charming cafes, shops, interspersed with cobblestone roads. The crags were empty. We were able to subsist happily on great bread, even better café con leche, and cheese. Heaven! Returning home from that trip, which occurred in 1998, I felt like I had really seen the island. In fact, we only had scratched the climbing-potential surface. Since 2000, the magazines have shown deep-water soloing and other new developments. We drove to look at the coasts and tried to go to the beach a few times (it was fairly cold, being early March), but never did my husband or our climbing-obsessed traveling companions consider heading out to the cliffs off of the coast of that beautiful island. In many ways, the island is there for us to discover all over again. We don’t need to worry about crowds of tourists either, because I’m sure the only fellow travelers we’ll see will share our focus, and encourage us to expand upon it.Kristin Carpenter-Ogden is a business owner, wife, mother of two and a world traveler. She lived briefly in Telluride and now supports Mountainfilm both philosophically and in a public relations capacity. Photo credits to: Climbing, Chris Sharma, English Manacor Blog and