I recently read the 2023 New Yorker article The Case Against Travel.  You may have to subscribe to read it, so let me sum it up for you - travel brings out the worst in us and most people assign more significance to travel experiences than they warrant.  Many philosophers and many examples are cited.  The article almost made me wonder if I'm deluding myself about the importance of travel in my life.  

Then I went to Europe for two months with some of my favorite people.  I visited remote islands, I kayaked in the open water, I roamed through ancient cities, I learned how to make Pastel de Nata with a Portuguese chef, I read books by the Adriatic and I slept in a cave.  I said yes sometimes when I wanted to say no. 

The article talks about travel as locomotion - I went to Paris, I went to the Louvre, I saw the Mona Lisa.  And so encourages the reader to think about the follow up question - then what?  My answer is - I pushed myself, my sister and my children outside our comfort zones.  And I made new connections with them through those new experiences.  

I did fall into the trap of planning too many stops with too many short flights and too many long drives and I stood in some long lines.  But I made the most of the busy moments and the quiet moments.  

What more can I ask of travel?  It's not the job of travel to transform me into someone I yearn to be, or to make human connections for me.  That is the daily work I try to do when I'm home.  I'm not coming back a new woman, I'm coming back feeling more like myself than I have all year. 

Perhaps the article wasn't intended to be taken literally.  Perhaps it was intended to encourage the reader to pause and think about their own relationship to travel.  For that, New Yorker, thank you.  Travel and I are just fine.  

Laurie Furber
Tagged: travel journal