Stranger in a Strange Land: The Super Fun Adventure Travel Team

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Super Fun Adventure Travel Team

Dubuque is a city of circles. England has its unexplainable crop circles, Jack Byrnes has his rigid Circle of Trust, and the People’s Republic of Dubuque has its inaccessible social circles. Anyone who has either come back to Dubuque or is all together new to the city will agree: it can be hard to meet people in Dubuque. It’s not that Dubuquers are unfriendly. In fact, as I go for a run along Asbury and am greeted by complete strangers, I know just the opposite is true. It’s also not true that Dubuque doesn’t like new people, as is evidenced by its constant developments and drives to attract new blood. But somewhere under this shiny welcome banner is a subconscious infrastructure of closed doors. “They aren’t from Dubuque.” “They didn’t go to Loras.” “They don’t have kids.” “They moved away for awhile.” With every hushed statement, another circle is closed.

Personally, I’m used to living life on the periphery. I have never really been a full-fledged member of any one particular circle. In high school, I couldn’t be in the jock circle because I was also in band. Likewise, I didn’t fit the bill for the band circle because I was also a jock. Where did this leave me? Floating around space like a troubled satellite, endlessly bouncing off these forbidding celestial rings. Needless to say, when I moved back to Dubuque and discovered myself returning to orbit, I didn’t think anything of it. But when I heard similar complaints about the difficulty of breaking into the city’s ironclad social circles coming from a group of quasi-expat friends, I decided something needed to be done.

Being a rather creative group, we lost souls came up with a solution. If you can’t fit in a circle, draw your own. Hence, the birth of the Super Fun Adventure Travel Team. The Super Fun Adventure Travel Team is comprised of six adventuresome, global superheroes who all share a love for traveling the world, meeting new people and trying new beers. There’s The Freaky Deaky Dutch Duo, who are known for their abilities to quote Borat verbatim and confuse everyone during a game of spiked charades. “Yes, Do you like?” Then we have The Leak and Cheetah, have the respective super powers of establishing his territory with the expert marksmanship of a laser stream and her ability to develop an interesting cheetah disguise when exposed to the sun for too long. My wife, whose secret identity is The Spanish Fly, is known for her amazing ability to transform from a quiet, beach-bum gringo to a fluent, Spanish-speaking local all by drinking some magical, potent drink. Finally, there’s me, The Rum Runner, named for my outstanding ability to sprint down the sand and stumble into the Mojito Happy Hour, panting and wheezing, with only seconds to spare.

Although our super circle has had numerous adventures carousing downtown Dubuque, our inaugural international mission was a short jaunt to the Dominican Republic. Here our super powers were put to the test against our arch-nemesis, The Hangover. Although there were times when it looked like we would have to lay down in defeat, such as when The Leak simply fell out of his chair and slumped up against a palm tree, through a combination of super powers, friendship and obscene amounts of ibuprofen, we ultimately prevailed.

As always, it was hard to go home, especially when it meant leaving a warm sandy beach and returning to lovely sub-twenty degree spring weather. As my fellow super heroes boarded the plane, I realized that, for once, I had finally found my circle. Admittedly, this made going home a bit easier. But something about this whole picture just didn’t sit right with me. I was uncomfortable with the idea of perpetuating the problem by being part of yet another closed circle. In fact, I didn’t want to be in a circle at all as this goes completely against the Super Fun Adventure Travel Team’s philosophy of living life beyond the circle.

Immediately upon landing we called an emergency meeting to determine what to do about this imposing quandary. My fellow Dubuquers, I am pleased to announce that, by unanimous vote, the Super Fun Adventure Travel Team is now officially open to anybody and everybody. Our circle knows no boundaries. To join, all you need to do is have the willingness to try new beers, the desire to broaden your horizons, and the courage to step outside your comfort zone and discover the super experiences orbiting around you. After all, life is an adventure- so don’t forget your cape.

P.S. God bless you Mr. Vonnegut *


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