A Day of Armchair TravelBy Travelersmind
To give you a better idea of what I mean, I'll give you a glimpse into what a day of armchair travel--or as the article sometimes calls it, lazy travel--can look like. As a news analyst, I spend the day perusing the internet for stories about current events relating to business, politics, technology, marketing, hospitality, lifestyle, and, of course, travel. In the morning, I traveled to the Philippines (U.S. issued a travel warning to the country), Charleston, SC (residents there are suing Carnival Cruises over their massive ship), San Francisco, CA (the Fairmont Hotel is being put up for sale), and Vancouver, Canada (Canucks fans went on a rampage after losing the Stanley Cup finals to Boston). Within the span of one work day, I can move from one coast to the other, leap over the pond, scale the terrain abroad, and cruise back on over to my desk, all before clocking out. What's even better is that I learn something in the process. I gain knowledge about a place through the events that are going on right now. News stories are a window into how people are living, responding to the daily problems, triumphs, concerns and hopes that they encounter every day. I will admit that reading through story after story can get a little tedious, despite all the fascinating things happening in our world. Also, the articles are so brief, it doesn't give me a chance to really get lost in a single location. Just as I'm getting pulled in, the final sentence approaches and I move on to the next place.
Books offer more of an opportunity to immerse yourself in a destination. As I pedalled and climbed to sweaty glory in the wee hours of the morning, I did it all from the mountain farms of southern Appalachia. I was reading Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer, the story of three individuals whose lives are magically entwined through nature, love and the wilderness. I felt connected to this world I had never seen, and it made me feel like I knew what people living in that region of America are like, how they talk, their daily routines, their culture, their general environment. I still have more to read, more to learn, but I am eager to venture back there in the evening before drifting off into my own dream world.
But before going to Appalachia, I visited Spain. My friend Laura and I sat down at a table in a bustling, warm restaurant in Chicago, only to quickly drift into the kitchen of a Spanish Tapas bar, the spicy aromas wafting around our heads, penetrating our senses. The sizzling plates of spiced potatoes in tomato sauce, mushrooms stuffed with pork and cheese, and grilled fresh vegetables titillated our appetites and rocketed us into another culture completely diverse from the modern American city outside. We were in a quiant town in the Spanish neighborhoods outside Madrid, sitting at a wrought-iron table atop cobble-stone streets, sipping sweet sangria in the afternoon sun.
The perfect end to a day of armchair travel.
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