Friday, July 24, 2009

Travel- Its all About Soul

Getting below the surface in Rotorua (NZ). Pic by me.

We were standing in the shelter of an Indonesian market town from tropical rain waiting for the shuttle bus to take us back to our Resort, so really, I had no choice but to shamelessly eavesdrop on the conversation happening in front of me. It was between a Singaporean lady who had come to the island for a long weekend (SL) and a tourist from a country I won’t name for fear of upsetting all the other wonderful people from that country :)(T). It went something like this:

SL: So, how long did you spend in Singapore?

T: Just 3 days, but that was long enough to see everything.

SL: Did you enjoy it?

T: Well, the 1st day we spent trying to get over the flight and used to this dreadful heat. Then we went for a walk down Orchard Road and I said to my husband and son that really we could be in Los Angeles or Sydney.

(I grinned at this one, as last time I looked, George St was nothing like Orchard Rd... but I digress)

SL: Maybe you should have had a look at Little India, Chinatown or Arab Street- and seen the old Singapore?

T: (shudders) The City Tour took us through Little India and... (another shudder)... we really didn’t like it.

SL: What about the Zoo, did you go to the Zoo? Singapore Zoo is one of the best in the world.

T: No, we have been to so many zoos around the world and our Zoo in XXXXX (nearly gave away the nationality...) is what Singapore’s Zoo was copied from.

(By now SL is desperately waiting for the shuttle bus to turn up).

SL: But you must be happy with the Resort?

T: Well we are now, although have you seen the price of the pizzas? And my husband hasn’t been able to get a rugby score on TV & don’t get me started on the insect bites.

At this point a giggle escaped from me, so I had no choice but to join the conversation...

Jo: But how cool are the Malaysian soap operas? We love the ones without the subtitles & try & make up the words.

T: (gave me a look which roughly translated as “are you for real?”)

Jo: And, you have to admit, the weather is heaps warmer than back home at the moment? And where else can you buy 3 Tiger Beers for $5?

This whole random conversation made me think about what our charts say about us as travellers. Our sun sign will tell us quite a bit, but how you approach travel can be seen by the sign that rules the 9th house in your birthchart. You may be a Taurus Sun, but with a Sagittarius 9th house would be interested in cultures, religions and pushing your limits a little more.
As a Pisces, I am naturally drawn to anything with water and anything where my boundaries can dissolve. But with Scorpio on the cusp of my 9th house, I approach travel from the viewpoint of Scorpio- I like to get below the surface to the soul of wherever I go. Tour groups invade my privacy, and tend to make me feel constrained and a little claustrophobic.

Thankfully my husband is of a similar mindset. With a Scorpio Sun and Sagittarius on the cusp of his 9th house, he also wants to immerse himself in culture. So when we travel, while we might stay in good hotels (my idea of camping is a 3 star hotel) with access to water, but we head off the tourist trail as much as possible, eat locally (usually that is also the cheapest option) & attempt to find out how people really live.

Our daughter (an Aries Sun with Leo on the cusp of her 9th house) likes to travel, but prefers a resort with sun lounges, a pool and plenty of pool games. A common phrase for us when on holidays is “It’s not all about you, Sarah.” Very Leo on the 9th.

So, what does your chart say about you as a traveller? If you know the sign that is on the cusp of your 9th house, that is great- read both the description of your Sun sign and that ruling the 9th. If you know your birth time, hop onto and get your own birthchart.
Aries: You want to be first- that goes without saying. If you can’t explore new territory, at least be the 1st of your group to go somewhere new. And if that doesn’t work, pick a resort where you can kick the arses off the other guests in pool volleyball, tennis, drinking games or anything else competitive. Combine the 2 and follow your favourite sporting team or army on tour. Avoid guided tours at all costs.

Taurus: Somewhere nice and conservative, but with good value for money. You love modern cities with great shopping, good food and where you don’t have to do an awful lot. Relaxation is the name of the game, but a visit to an art gallery or a stroll through shops followed by cocktails is exercise enough. Resorts and cruises are great, but don’t go too far off the beaten track- stick with what you know.

Gemini: Don’t even think about retreats... ever... unless there is a group of you going- actually unless there are a few groups going- you need the variety. Contiki tours or a backpacking holiday where you can gather friends (and facebook contacts) from all around the world- and party all night- are right on the money. If it’s Thursday we must be in Rome.

Cancer: You really don’t like to be too far from home, but when you are, you prefer to set up base in a single place and make it as much like your home away from home as possible. Apartments by the beach are great when you can get the groceries in and cook for yourself- eating out too much really can’t be justified when you can whip up a perfectly good meal yourself.

Leo: It goes without saying that you prefer to follow the sun. But don’t even think about a put your own tent up in the African jungle safari. Sun and Glamour are your key words. You love a 5 star resort with cocktails by the pool, a great in house beauty salon and the perfect poolside wardrobe. Perhaps a cruise, the Greek Islands, or both. It is no less than you deserve.

Virgo: Let’s face it, you are going to get travel belly wherever you go... but I did notice when we were in Singapore recently that all the Hawker markets are graded in terms of food quality and cleanliness... no, I am not sure what standard they are measured against or the actual statistics of how many people had to get sick, but my point is, this definitely makes it easier for Virgos to eat cheaply, locally and know where their tummy bug is coming from. The best part of a holiday has to be in the planning and working out where you can get the best value for money. Don’t share with other families- you know you will be the one having to do all the chores. Organised tours are perfect for you- you really don’t like anywhere too relaxing, loud, flashy or wet.

Libra: Anywhere gorgeous where you can shop for designer goodies- just make sure you take someone equally as decorative to carry all your bags; somewhere glamorous where you can lie back with your champagne and be fed chocolates by one admirer while getting a foot massage from another; a resort or cruise where the biggest decision you need to make is which pool lounge you will drape yourself across to best possible advantage. Leave the pool games to Aries, you don’t want to break a nail.

Scorpio: I will say this once only- avoid organised tours- you have absolutely no control and people will be in your face all day. Also avoid anywhere too bright or too loud. Scorpio likes to make his own way and will actively seek out the underbelly of society and the hidden depths and the soul of a place. Being a water sign, scuba diving shipwrecks has to be the most literal translation of this. But whatever you choose, with Scorpio on the 9th, you will be transformed by travel- if you let yourself go.

Sagittarius: Particularly drawn to skiing holidays and (yes, Virgo, I was getting to this part) skiing injuries. Sag likes anywhere where there is something to drink, something to jump off or something to jump into or something to gamble on...Consider a drinking tour of Vegas casinos. Sag is also into spirituality, so has been known to gallop off into the sunset after their latest Guru.

Capricorn: Preferably a trip paid for by someone else, but if that is not possible, book somewhere of good quality, conservative, respectable and great value for money. Plan it well and you won’t have any nasty surprises. Capricorn really does not like to relax as time away from work means someone could be making them no longer indispensable. Take your Blackberry and your laptop so you can still jump in with your vast experience when trouble strikes.

Aquarius: Admit it, you secretly want to be on one of those Moon flights. But this aside, your holiday needs to be different. Whether you are up a tree saving the forest from chainsaws or in deepest South America researching the local people, or doing the Woodstock thing, as long as it is slightly unconventional and involves other people to share ideas with you will have a great time. One on one quality relationship time with your partner? Forget it.

Pisces: Pisces uses travel to escape from whatever version of reality they find themselves in. You don’t like to plan too much, drifting from one place to the next is perfect. As long as your holiday involves water, duty free alcohol and absolutely no responsibilities you are a happy fishy. Having some bossy Tour Guide telling you what time to get up, where to go and what to do when you get there is your idea of organised hell.

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