Tag: Travel Philosophy

An Argument Against the Summer Vacation

At Front Porch Republic, Jason Peters goes there:

There’s no paucity of smiling children, or of aching muscles after you’ve rough-housed the kids and cousins in the lake or pool, but then you can almost see the seeds of greater expectations germinating in the soils of their little brains. The danger is that they’ll grow up to live for their two weeks’ worth of vacation each year and hate the other fifty. And that is no way to live a life.

In fine, there is the sense that you have fully arrived: at long last you are all consumer, endlessly provided for and endlessly entertained. But if, deep down, you have reconciled yourself to your condition, which is not to play but to work, you know that without work you cannot fully inhabit your humanity. Or: all play and no work makes daddy a dull boy.

(Via Andrew Sullivan)


Wired’s Kevin Kelly: Travel as ‘Higher Education’

Chris Mitchell interviewed Kelly, who’s taken a break from writing bestsellers about technology to release a travel photography book. The book, Asia Grace, compiles photos from Kelly’s travels through Asia as a young backpacker in the 1970s. Here’s the Wired co-founder on those early travels:

I had hoped to work for National Geographic. I even called up one photo editor there and told him where I was going, looking for an assignment, but of course, they did not work that way… My travels never “paid” for themselves in any economic way, but I never really tried very hard to do so. I think of them more like my higher education. And for the amount of time I spent there, and what I learned, it was the cheapest education ever.


Daisann McLane Learns to Love Cold-Weather Travel

Well, “love” might be an overstatement. In her latest, the National Geographic Traveler columnist (and World Hum contributor) describes her transition from outright cold-avoidance to a slow acceptance of winter’s offerings for travelers.

I always have the best travel experiences when I push myself out of my comfort zone. Asked by others how to make their travel richer, I invariably recommend they charge boldly into the unfamiliar—landscapes, customs, languages, cuisines. Climate is just as much a part of a travel experience as food. I didn’t turn up my nose at the Oaxacan locust wrapped in a tortilla or the snake soup in Guangzhou, so why did I limit my travels to a temperature range of 75 to 95 degrees F?

I’m a big proponent of winter travel, so I was thrilled to read about another traveler’s conversion. Welcome to the fold, Daisann.


Tony Hiss Talks ‘Deep Travel’

The former New Yorker staffer and author of In Motion: The Experience of Travel talks with the Book Bench about what he calls “deep travel.” Here’s Hiss:

Deep Travel is an exhilarating state of mind that travel can evoke, when everything seems suddenly fresh, vivid, intensely interesting, and memorable. Because you focus on what you’re looking at and listening to, Deep Travel is like waking up while already awake; things have a way of seeming emphasized, underlined. Travel can sometimes summon this kind of awareness automatically—we can all remember times when the world came alive unexpectedly—but we can also bring it to vibrant life voluntarily.

He goes on to talk about how to call up and retain that feeling even in more familiar settings. It’s worth a read.


Daisann McLane: ‘Baggage is Not an Obstacle’

In her latest column, Daisann McLane offers her perspective on the recent No-Baggage Challenge. Her take? “A mixed feeling of awe and bewilderment.” Here’s why she could never go there herself:

I curate the contents of my suitcase with exceptional care. If you happen to meet me in an airport in Asia or on a European train, you’ll usually find me traveling lighter than light, with one small rolling Samsonite carryon, or a Patagonia “Legal CarryOn” satchel. I have lived, quite easily out of either one for over a month.

But give up baggage altogether? That’s like asking me to give up wine, or chocolate. I enjoy figuring out how to pack strategically, so I’m not bogged down with stuff but can still dress with as much elegance and local color as I can. When you travel, every day on the road is a special occasion. I pack, and dress myself to honor that energy and joy—and reflect it back at the world. It deserves no less.


23 Great Fake Travel Quotes

23 Great Fake Travel Quotes iStockPhoto

One strange travel quote got us started. The travelers on Twitter took it from there.

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Travel Writing: ‘A Failed Defense Against Impermanence’?

The New Inquiry’s Helena Fitzgerald dusts off Walter Benjamin’s essay on acquisition and collection, “Unpacking my Library,” and applies it to those of us who chronicle our travels. Here’s Fitzgerald:

Travel writing wants to defeat the impermanence of being in any one place. In keeping records of the intangible—people or places or experiences -we attempt to forget that the things we love are not, in fact, things, and therefore can’t be kept, preserved, or possessed… Location is necessarily fleeting. As with art and with beauty and even, finally, with people for whom we feel things, there is nothing to be done about it.

The post is worth reading in full. (Via @travelingpam)


Interview With Greg Mortenson: One Traveler Changing Lives

David Frey asks the bestselling author about the "Three Cups of Tea" approach to travel and life

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The Photographer and the Philosopher

The Photographer and the Philosopher Jan Morris (REUTERS)

Pico Iyer explores the lives and work of writers Jan Morris and V.S. Naipaul, two "master portraitists" of place

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A Moment of Doubt in a Berkeley Cafe

Don George’s latest, over at Gadling, is a thoughtful look at the ways in which the world is shrinking, although “intractable divisions delineate our world still.” Here’s a sample:

For the past quarter-century I have been dedicated to the proposition that travel seeds understanding, and that understanding nurtures open-mindedness and compassion—and that these pave the pathway to peace and progress. As a wandering pilgrim, I have come to worship in the church of insatiable inquiry and unconditioned kindness.

Still, last week I looked at the world’s headlines and wondered: Are we really learning anything? Are we any closer to the catechism of kindness than before?


Seven Lessons From the Great Volcano Shutdown of 2010

What should we learn from the historic grounding of thousands of flights?

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Nine Subversive Travel Books

Thomas Kohnstamm celebrates books that really rocked the boat

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Interview with Alain de Botton: ‘A Week at the Airport’

Frank Bures asks Heathrow's first writer-in-residence about non-places, taking time to arrive and what airports tell us about ourselves

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The Death of the Idyll

Frank Bures on "The Wisdom of Tuscany" and the last, dying gasp of a travel book genre

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‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Travelers’

Over at Uncornered Market, Audrey and Daniel offer a thoughtful post on the life skills required for (and developed by) independent travel.


Are Introverted Travelers More Skeptical of Strangers?

That’s the question posed by World Hum contributor Sophia Dembling, in her latest blog post over at The Introvert’s Corner. It’s an interesting one, and the logical follow-up—is introvert skepticism an obstacle preventing interaction with the locals, a useful safety device, or both?—is too. For more on introverts out in the big wide world, check out Sophia’s Confessions of an Introverted Traveler and Six Tips for Introverted Travelers.


See America, Too!

Never seen the Grand Canyon? That’s just un-American.

It happened again last night. I was at a café with friends when one, who has traveled extensively in Europe, asked me for advice about an inexpensive summer vacation for herself and her two college-age-ish sons.

I suggested Cody, Wyoming, right outside the east gate of Yellowstone National Park. (“I hate hiking,” one son grumbled.) I suggested Boulder, Colorado. I suggested Seattle. I suggested they drive cross country and get a sense of the whole shebang.

“Are there cheap fares to Europe these days?” my friend asked.

Wrong question, especially after I have a few glasses of sangria in me.

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Travel That Counts—or My Passport Is Better-Stamped Than Yours

Travel That Counts—or My Passport Is Better-Stamped Than Yours iStockPhoto

On the intersection of place, politics and culture

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Interview with Rick Steves: ‘Travel as a Political Act’

Jim Benning asks the Europe travel guru about his new book -- and where Americans can go for a politically eye-opening experience

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Why We Travel

Why We Travel iStockPhoto

In a classic essay, Pico Iyer explores the reasons we leave our beliefs and certainties at home to see the world with open eyes

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