Departments

The Traveler

“You haven’t gone yet? You should go. It’s the right time of year, too. It’s wonderful with all that space, and those views, and not a tourist in sight. I wish everybody could go.

“What? What did I…? Oh. That’s an oxymoron, isn’t it? Like ‘nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.’ But that really is how it goes. Whenever we find something that’s really a jewel, people just descend on it until they suffocate it. I can’t even go to Venice anymore. I swear it’s sinking out of embarrassment.

“If we were smart, really smart, we wouldn’t blab about things like that. We’d organize a guild or a secret society. We’d have apprenticeships and an initiation. Seven years of studying languages, and etiquette, and survival skills to become an Honorable Traveler with the right to visit. Plus another ten years of study before you get to take a camera.

“Instead, we love it so much we have to tell somebody about it. And they have to tell somebody and we all love it to death.

“Maybe that’s too harsh. I don’t want to seem elitist. The fact is I pity the tourists even more than I pity the places they ruin. They have no way out. They cross oceans and continents but they pack their boredom, and ignorance, and petulance.

“I don’t know why they bother, unless it’s because they still have that instinct that tells them growing up means leaving home. But no matter how far they go, they drag home along behind. It’s not even travel; it’s just a change of venue.”