From "This Couple Traveled The World Together And Admits It Strained Their Relationship/Social media makes traveling as a couple look like a honeymoon every day. One couple admits that that’s not always the case."
So part of this was that they made travel their job, but at least they were making money, not hemorrhaging money.
People who write about travel for a living are strange characters, making it all look amazing and romantic. Who writes about the downside of travel? You'd have to write really well to make your complaining good reading. David Sedaris can do it. Mostly, people who read about travel are going to be people who like travel (or the idea of it). You're therefore best off feeding the fantasy. You may have some great material there ‚ the physical, psychological, and relationship strains — but you'll need more insight and literary prowess than "I neglected Alesha’s feelings and she would attack me for neglecting her" and "I continued to neglect her because I couldn’t stand being attacked."
That reminds me: James Lileks responded to one of my recent travel-skepticism posts.
You can read about a place and see pictures, but it doesn't compare to being there. I wouldn't conflate going to a place with understanding it on some subatomic level like the all-wise locals; wouldn't suggest that going to interesting places somehow makes one an interesting person. But if I had the choice between staying at home for a week in the summer, or spending it in Venice exploring churches, why wouldn't I go? I can walk around the neighborhood the other 51 weeks. Not a lot of baroque around here.Another alternative: Walk around beyond your neighborhood, to the poorest, most dangerous part of the nearest big city. Get home without dying.
Ann wrote: "Do the people who travel have a more wide-ranging mind than the people who read and think about the world?" Not necessarily. People who read and think about space travel probably had a 'more wide-ranging' set of ideas than Neil Armstrong, who was thinking about getting there, landing, exploring, leaving, and getting home without dying. The armchair space explorer imagines warp-drive and generational ships. One is idle speculation uninformed by experience; the other is travel.
You can read about Venice, but you'll never know how it smells; you can think about Venice, but you'll never read anything that's the equivalent experience to turning a corner, finding a church, going inside, soaking in the atmosphere of five centuries, studying the artifacts.Well, me, I have anosmia, which could be an advantage in some places, perhaps even Venice in the summer. I've seen some churches and artifacts — like Notre Dame in Paris and the jawbone of Saint Louis on display in the backroom.
You can read and think about Venice all you like, but you'll never find yourself standing at dawn by the canal, near a stone with a date from the 16th century, waiting for your boat....I went to Amsterdam some years ago. Stayed for 2 weeks. Avoided the canal boats because I regarded them as tourist bullshit. But then I caved. This is the page from my sketchbook about that day:
I am not a fan of canal boats. Back to Lileks:
On the other hand, reading and thinking is all you can do for most of the things outside you[r] town and profession, and if you're not just looking to confirm your pre-existing biases, your understanding of, oh, Turkish politics is quite possibly better than someone who just took a day trip on a bus through Instanbul when the cruise ship docked....That would only be true if people are interchangeable. The other people at a tourist attraction are tourists, not the people who made the attraction an attraction. You can't be with the ancient Romans. You can imagine them, but mostly because you've read about them. If you are inspired to call them to mind as you stand in their ruins, it is only because you are able to overcome the noisy discordance of the other travelers, the people who don't belong there, people like you. But those who extol travel tend not to talk about excluding other people from their visual and mental field. When I've traveled, I've done a mix of things. I've drawn myself into a spiritual/artistic place where I've communed with the great art and architecture and great men and women of the past, and I've noticed the incongruities and disappointments (some of which were exactly the fodder I wanted for my sketchbooks). It's something I can do. It has some value, but often not more value than living daily life at home, especially if you factor in how much it costs and all the effort of planning and getting there.
Ann also says: "Anyway, as Irving observes, places like the ancient ruins of Rome have tourists walking all over the place." Depends. Pompeii has spots where you, depending on the day, find yourself alone on a street, looking up at a wisp from Vesuvius. But as with the ancient ruins of Rome, experiencing them with lots of people is hardly an inversion of their original state. It's like going to the Colosseum and complaining about the crowds.
And getting back without dying.