Authentic Experiences

Travel enthusiasts seem to have this thing for an authentic experience of a place. Often times those with large wallets and flexible schedules will commit to spending extra time in a place in order to experience the culture more fully, whether it’s in a nearby city or a country halfway across the world. Some people debate whether it is possible for a non-native individual to come to a place and hold an authentic experience, and I think they are right for this questioning.

Yet, I still hope for the experience of authenticity myself. It’s why I was overjoyed to attend an apple cider pressing in Washington just under a year ago and it’s why I visited Newport Beach when I lived in Southern California (Okay, so maybe I was just soaking up the sunshine, but still). But genuinely, it is part of why I went to a corn maze on Friday night up in Dixon, CA.

Visiting the corn maze gives some legitimacy to the fact that autumn has arrived, a fact that until the past couple of days, our weather patterns have strongly argued against. However, after wandering through circles, cutting through rows, and looking out over an expansive cornfield, I can say that it truly felt like fall. I’m lucky enough to live decently close to the site that held the 2007 Guinness World Record for largest corn maze, and even luckier that it has increased in size since then. I trod through 53 acres of corn fields with three fellow adventurers, beginning as the sun set, and exiting well into the night.

Somehow I think that is as close as one can get to an authentic experience of the Central Valley in California’s warm October.