• miraculous “small world” update

      As preamble, I need to mention that our female horseback riding guide in Belize, the podiatrist’s tie-dyed wife, complained at length about her ex for the five days we spent together. She described her former husband as detestable, having lost a bitter child-custody struggle with him. A furniture maker, the man made the comfortable, […]

  • more on travel v. tourism

      Much have been written on this question. One of my favorite explications of the difference is Paul Fussell’s essay “From Exploration to Travel to Tourism” in his book Abroad, published in 1980. Fussell has the history wrong, writing that “exploration belongs to the Renaissance, travel to the bourgeois age, tourism to our proletarian moment”—apparently, forgetting […]

  • what is the jungle’s allure?

      Henri Rousseau was a tax collector and self-taught painter who never left Paris and never saw a jungle, taking inspiration instead from Paris’ hothouse botanical gardens. “When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands,” he was quoted as saying, “it seems to me that I enter […]

  • why children prefer a facsimile

      Perhaps children prefer a facsimile because it offers a sense of control over a frighteningly diverse world. Most of us, in fact, not only children, cannot resist a simulacrum. This is one reason why many adults prefer the very cleaned up version of Epcot’s London or Las Vegas’s Egypt to the real thing. Certainly, there is an irresistible charm […]

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