Friday Book Club: Travel Anywhere (and avoid being a tourist).
This seems like an odd choice given how stationary we are these days. I’ve chosen this for Friday Book Club for three reasons: (1) “Travel porn” is big these days. We want what we can’t have; (2) While far-flung travel is in hibernation right now, the “digital nomad” trend is growing big as people decamp from their habitual world and seek refuge elsewhere for extended stays (this is part of the reason we created our MEA Sabbatical Sessions);
and (3) I’ve never read a travel book I enjoyed more as the subtitle is perfectly accurate: Travel Trends and Destination Inspiration for the Modern Adventurer. Jeralyn Gerba and Pavia Rosati have created a masterpiece with this 2019 book.
The various chapters are so well-suited to anyone who mixes wisdom and wanderlust: get back to nature experiences, the coolest co-working spaces for digital nomads, the world’s best escapes for foodies, volunteer opportunities around the globe, getting into hot water (the best hot springs), essential travel tips and hacks, their favorite travel products, and packing lists. As a bit of a hotel aficionado, I really appreciated the collection of bespoke hotels and retreats they’ve curated including our very own Hotel San Cristobal, just about 15 minutes from the MEA campus.
I particularly appreciated their chapter called “Let the Mind Wander” which helps you understand how to be more personally mindful in your travel to craft a transformative, life-altering experience. This could include mixing the right balance of research and serendipity, how to apply the principles of “slow travel” to your sojourn, and how to ride the high so it’s appreciated for months and years to come. Here are a few of the suggestions they have on how to “glorify the experience” after you’re back:
- Throw a dinner party centered around the last place you traveled. Go all out with the theme - tablescapes, recipes, music, after-dinner games, storytelling (but no slide show!!). And encourage your friends to do the same.
- Reframe your travel ephemera as artwork. Train tickets, brochures, and postcards can be matted and hung on the wall, an everyday reminder of a great vacation.
- Adopt a new ritual for your everyday routine. West German house slippers around your apartment. Swap your robe for a yukata. Pour all your cider like an Asturian, which is to say, from 4 feet above the table into a glass - without looking.
- Keep traveling at home. Watch movies filmed in locations where you’ve been. Read novels by local authors. Master a complicated paella, pho, or biryani. Burn a candle scented with cinnamon (Sri Lanka), lavender (Provence), or rose (Morocco).
The difference between a traveler and a tourist mirrors the gap between being a participant and a spectator in life. The authors say, “The traveler sees the act of traveling as a proxy for change, for self-discovery, a means of measuring oneself in the world. They know innately or have learned firsthand that some of life’s biggest challenges, heartbreaks, and stagnations are remedied by an epic trip. That a cure for loneliness is a dose of fortifying solitude or of unexpected connection...With the right mindset, a three-day weekend close to home can shift a traveler’s perspective, mood, and state of being. What a difference a day can make.”
If this post whet your appetite, you might enjoy this June post about the Senior Nomads who’ve proven, based upon their past seven years of living in Airbnbs around the world, that travel doesn’t have to be more expensive than your life at home.