Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Travel

I've taken this trip on the Okavango Delta on mokoros. In fact it makes up one of my favorite memories, especially when we arrived at our chosen campsite to discover it being ransacked by two giant bull elephants.

I tend to be a bit skeptical of most travel writing, especially that about Africa, as most of the genre tends to veer toward buttressing various hoary cliches about Africa. Nonetheless, I also think there is a place for even the most boosterish travel writing -- that is, the kind you find in a typical weekend edition of the newspaper that basically is a sales job for travel.

Some time ago inveterate travel writer Paul Theroux (with whose writings I tend to have a love-hate relationship) wrote an essay in the New York Times' Sunday travel section titled "Why We Travel." I think "we" travel for many reasons. Every time I get the chance to return to Africa it is always driven by work, but even when I go for work, I'm not going to pretend that I work fifteen hours a day. Most of my time is devoted to the simple pleasures of travel. Seeing old friends and returning to familiar haunts as well as always seeking out the new.


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