First things first: I’m addicted to travel writing. Dinesen, Markham, Theroux and Hemingway — their stories pack the bookshelves in my living room to overflowing. Four teetering towers piled on the floor inch toward the hallway, not to mention the dog-eared, highlighted and sticky-noted guidebooks littering the coffee table. Or the stacks of Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR and the Sunday Times Travel section that hog my bedside table. Case closed. Addicted.
Sifting through that stack of magazines recently, I came across the April 2013 Smithsonian. THE TRAVEL ISSUE emblazoned in orange across the front, with two African elephants marching across the cover. I wondered why I had kept it. The corner of page 11 was folded over.
Editor in Chief, Michael Caruso, wrote:
“In 1960, people around the world made 25 million trips outside their home countries. Last year, that number passed one billion. Tourism has become one of the most powerful, most influential and least-examined forces in the world. It produces $6.5 trillion of the global economy and employs one out of every 12 people on earth.”
That gave me pause. I’ve never been one out of 12 in anything. Okay, maybe I’m one of the 12 people on the planet who still doesn’t have a Facebook page, or a Twitter account, or doesn’t clearly understand the difference between Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. And some would say I’m definitely one of the 12 who still have a Blackberry. Regardless, I have spent 25 years working in an industry that is massive, pervasive, global, HUGE. These statistics are dated and have surely increased over the years.
Armed with that, I’m tossing my two cents into this trillion-dollar pot and launching a travel blog. A humble attempt at sharing some stories and spreading what I hope is the joy of travel.
My final travel tally for 2016 is respectable with trips to Portugal, Spain, Poland, Sicily, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and France. And as evidenced by my Inbox, many of you have done quite well yourselves. It’s always a good time to work on the Travel List, right? Start now, check it twice, research, modify, plan and save. Time is never wasted when dreaming about travel. For 2017 I am off to a good start, having ticked off South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe – with Tanzania slated for September. Still lingering on my ever-evolving list is Antarctica, Mongolia, Madagascar, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Tasmania – oh why limit myself – I’d pretty much go anywhere.
Anne Lamott wrote, “At twenty-one, I still believed that if you could only get to see sunrise at Stonehenge, or full moon at Taj Mahal, you would be nabbed by truth.” At fifty-five, I would tell her that you would. Because I have.
Here’s to seeking some truth.