I’ve spent somewhere around 200 hours of my life—about eight full days—inside airports. This is not because I am a glamorous jet-setter (I’ve never seen the inside of an airport lounge), but because I enjoy traveling and the cheaper I can do it the longer I can keep going. In order to make early morning flights I’ve spent the night at Heathrow, Newark, Milwaukee, Casablanca, and a handful of other airports. I’ve had looong layovers in Toronto, Seoul, D.C., Frankfurt, and New York that gave me plenty of time to go into the city, but I’ve always opted to save my funds for the trip instead.
Those 200 hours have [...]
From The Hairpin's eight-part Kindle Serial "An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Having."
You’ve heard this story before. Clarification: you’ve heard this story before if you reside within the not altogether rarefied demographic of middle- to upper-class students who studied abroad at some point in their college or postcollege career. Sometimes the details are slightly different—one of my friends went to Vietnam; another spent at least a month in the backwoods of Ecuador making pottery with an eighty-year-old master.
But the reason so many people undertake the voyage that so many others in their place have before—that’s not too difficult to understand. Studying abroad in Europe [...]
At the New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith has a beautiful essay up about two trips to Italy, the first taken with her father:
It is not easy for a white man of almost seventy and a black girl of seventeen to go on a mini-break to Europe together; the smirks of strangers follow you everywhere. We did not like to linger in restaurants or in the breakfast room of our tiny hotel. Instead, on that first, exploratory trip, we found our pleasure in walking. Through the streets, through museums—but more than anywhere else, through gardens. No money has to be spent in a [...]
I wake to the familiar smell of yak dung. It's day 20 of a month-long hike through the Nepalese Himalayas. Bhimsem, my guide, is slurping dahl bat in the teahouse kitchen. He's anxious to get going, even though we have 14 hours of daylight to trek three miles; the same three miles local children hike twice a day just to get to school. He fidgets with his backpack straps as I eat a chocolate pancake. Then, the speech.
Today we will see many mountains. We will go up. And we will go down. There will be many sights. You will take pictures. Yes? Bhimsem is frustrated when I take pictures [...]