After the End of Travel

Will we reach all the places, hear all the folk songs, buy cynical copies of all the traditional outfits, claim all the beaches? Maybe so. Frank Bures wrote for World Hum recently about what happens if/when this happens. Would travel die? No, he suggests, “the non-places of today are the places of tomorrow.” In other words, as things change, new destinations form. I like that.

I’ve always am curious and what lies at the edge of travel — and not necessarily floating down the Amazon in a Huck Finn raft or bungee jumping off a Sphinx’s noseless face.

Here’s three ideas for what could come:

Fictional Destinations: ‘Rightful Delaware.’
I don’t care that Delaware got its territory after Maryland got its, looking at a map it’s easy to see that the eastern slice of Maryland — that bit cutting east of Chesapeake Bay — should rightfully be Delaware. I’d like to go to both sides of this unnatural border (actually the only east-west portion of the Mason Dixon Line) and ask opinions of ‘Rightful Delaware,’ and stage tasteful protests outside various civic institutions. Record the responses. Then find a winner B&B to let loose with a victory cocktail or two.

Unnecessary Guidebooks: ‘Bear Attacks of the Western Hemisphere (1990-1999).

I’ve wanted to create this for years. I’ll look up all the reported bear attacks of the 1990s — small, large, fatal, mere cuts — and document this in a ‘guidebook.’ The book would explain how to access points where attacks happen, where to get food and stay. Would have claw-finder charts and comparative damage surveys on swipe of adult males of various species of bear.

Mobile Museums: ‘History of Travel Pants Museum’
To me ‘travel’ — those sights we read about and go see during a day — is in a way ‘the space between meals.’ Eating anchors a trip. It’s the one thing we know we’ll do two or three (or four) times a day, and roughly at the same time 7-9am, noon-2pm and 7-10pm. More or less. The rest is up for grabs. And I’ve always found it funny that as travelers we’re overtaken as museum-consumers. We never go to them at home, yet fit in two or three (of four) a day on the road. Why go to museums? I want museums that move. I’ve always wanted to create a ‘History of Travel Pants’ museum with a dozen pairs of pants dating back to the ’50s or ’60s, hang them on a spider-web of wire from a chest frame of sorts. And walk around. Beats TV.

About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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