Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The future of travel

Pauline Frommer, daughter of the legendary Arthur Frommer and a expert in her own right (she's got a guidebook series), was recently contemplating the future of travel for an essay she's writing.

It's a murkey crystal ball, we both agreed. While travel has skyrocketed and, in some quarters, may surpass previous highs, there's always the danger that something in the world will go terribly awry. Another awful terrorist attack, God forbid, or a rampant disease like SARS, and Americans may again cling to their backyards.

I tend to take the Polyanna position, backed up by surveys: That Americans now view travel as a birthright rather than a luxury.

Given a rapid-fire pace -- long hours at work, kids activities, insane traffic, social commitments, friends and family that go too-long unvisited -- we need breaks. Desperately.

My views are fueled by passion: Traveling is, simply, the best thing I've ever done for myself and my relationships. The world is a marvel, filled with people and places and situations that I only begin to understand when I've seen, touched, smelled them for myself. Getting away -- even just to Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale -- allows me to coccoon with my husband, stashing away the everyday hassles for much-needed moments of respite.

It's a sad commentary that Americans leave half their vacation days on the table, to be gobbled up by companies that dole out vacations not only because we've earned them, but because we need them.

Think you can't get away? As a workaholic myself, I'd like to encourage you: You can. Even if it's only for long weekends.

Can't afford it? I threw that idea out the window when I was young, figuring I'd rather go far and wide with a backpack than have an iPod, new car or new TV.

That's not the right choice for everyone. But it is a choice. My vote: Travel. The memories are irreplaceable.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I was lucky enough to be introduced to traveling at a young age (and taken out by a great guide!) when I took my first trip to Europe at 18. Now I take a big trip at least once a year and I have never regretted the money I've spent on traveling. I feel that it makes me a better person to my friends and family because I've opened myself up to the world. I will encourage my niece and nephew to travel just as much as my own Aunt Jane encouraged me.