I’m addicted to travel writing. Dinesen, Markham, Chatwin, Newby, Theroux, 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 and maps littering my office. Or the stacks of Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Smithsonian and the Sunday Times Travel section that hog the coffee table, with barely room for a cuppa. Case closed. Addicted.
The other day, sifting through that stack of magazines, 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 and why the corner was folded on page 11.
Editor in Chief, Michael Caruso, writes:
“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 don’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 23 years working in an industry that is massive, pervasive, global, HUGE. And these statistics were published two years ago!
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.
Now that 2015 is over, my final travel tally is respectable with trips to Pittsburgh, New York, South Africa, Botswana, Chile, Poland, Germany, Disney World, and Portugal. And as evidenced by my Inbox, many of you have done quite well yourselves. While the official season of making lists is now over, it’s always a good time to work on the Travel List. Start now, check it twice, research, modify, plan and save. Time is never wasted when dreaming about travel.
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-three, I would tell her that you would. Because I have.
Here’s to seeking some truth.