I discovered Morris 20 years ago while working at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. With a newly minted degree in literature, it was pretty much the only job I was qualified for. The used-book department in the basement had that musty scent of dust and other people’s houses. After work one quiet Sunday night I spotted “The World” on the shelf in the “Essays” section, equidistant from volumes by James Baldwin and Virginia Woolf. Small images of global landmarks adorned the spine and caught my eye. The minimal title — solemn, seductive and assured — snapped me to attention. The essays — impressionistic but set in tangible and at times familiar places — were like nothing I’d read before.
When you are the moving object, and you build up momentum, stopping can be hard. I get addicted to the view over the next rise. Sometimes on a road trip I fall into a rhythm where I don’t even want to stop for gas. This used to drive my family crazy. They were always saying they were hungry, they had to go to the bathroom, and so on. I tried not to listen. Eventually, they would shout and kick the back of my seat, and I had to pull over somewhere. Then I got out and paced impatiently while they took forever, dawdling in restrooms and convenience-store aisles. When I’m in moving-object phase, I am not good to be with. For everybody’s sake, it’s better if I travel alone or with like-minded maniacs. That way I spare the innocent and make nobody crazy but myself.
To see which discontinued cars have been most popular lately, we looked at a full year of CarMax sales, from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019. The Jeep Patriot was our top-seller. The compact crossover SUV had a strong 11-year run, and thousands have been rolling off CarMax lots since production ended in 2017. The Chrysler 200 came in second among our best-sellers. The 200 was offered as a four-door sedan or two-door convertible from 2011 to 2014, then as a sedan from 2015 until it was discontinued in 2017.
Indeed, Finns derive a great deal of pride from the high level of social trust present in the society, which in turn is an indication of the perception that people are believed to be acting honestly. “In Finland the state is a friend, not an enemy,” Kananen said. “The state is perceived as acting for the collective good – so public officials act in everybody’s shared interest. There is a great deal of trust – towards fellow citizens and public office holders, including the police. Finnish people are also happy taxpayers. They know the tax money is used for the common good and they know no-one will cheat when collecting the taxes.”
For the love of driving.
I listened to the Pacific and took a step forward. I was on Earth. I was so lucky to be here. So goddamn lucky I suddenly wanted to scream. Do you know how rare it is to have a planet covered in water? How precious it is to get out of the car, walk a few feet, and touch the ocean? It was the deep blue of my daughter’s eyes. This water is flowing through me, through her, through all of us here, together. Is this enlightenment? I thought to myself. I don’t know enough about Buddhism.
Travelling with kids is always tough.
The other day, a woman messaged me on Instagram to thank me for sharing stories about my outdoor experiences with my child. I had just posted about how I was surprised that my adventurous spirit hadn’t actually withered up and died as I’d anticipated it would when I had my now five-year-old son, Mason. She told me that she and her partner were on the fence about the whole family thing, but seeing how I was getting out there a lot helped her realize that such a lifestyle can continue after you have a child.
New travelers are visiting all places of the world. What does it say about the future of travel?
Of course, fragile sites are growing dangerously congested now that there are nearly twenty international travellers for every one that existed when I was a kid; Kyoto currently sees 55 million domestic and foreign tourists crowd into the city every year—and the numbers are rising rapidly. But I’m never upset that travel is growing democratic; when I began commuting regularly as a boy, between my fifteenth-century boarding school in England and my parents’ home in hippie California, air travel felt like the province of a privileged few. Nowadays, the people on those same flights are likely to come from Bangkok or Busan or São Paulo. A once rather colonial enterprise has been turned on its head, and 2050 may well bring ever more comfortable travellers from Kigali and La Paz to Amsterdam and Paris.
Reprieve from summers.
Slovenia’s Lake Bled
The blue-green vividness of Slovenia’s Lake Bled in the country’s north-east is so picturesque that it almost looks fake. One TripAdvisor reviewer even likened it to a ‘cream cake’, possibly owing to the lake’s small island, Bled Island, which boasts a 17th-century church, and is well worth the pletna (boat) ride over to see its Gothic frescos.
The story of Louis & Nancy Dupree.
More than any other foreigner, Dupree knew Afghans, all kinds of Afghans; he was as charmed by goatherds as he was by the royal family. They all had something to teach him, he felt. He assumed that Afghans found him charming, too, and indeed many did. What Dupree failed to see—what other Americans who knew and loved the country less did see—was that while Afghans liked him, that didn’t mean they trusted him. “Afghans were very cautious with Americans,” Ted Eliot, the former ambassador, said. “Their long history with foreigners taught them that you never knew who would be in charge next.”
Uncovering the secret life of airports through movies. This needull is for frequent travelers who have are spending disproportionate time at airports.
So next time you find yourself trudging down a dank tunnel that seems to lead to nowhere, in the nether regions of an airport, suddenly alone and perhaps feeling a bit of existential dread, or maybe just exhaustion and boredom—remember that you are taking part in the secret life of airports. These non-simple spaces are indices for our broader culture, sites to interact with and interpret—sites that can make us feel exhilarated or stranded, by turns. This is what I call airportness, and it spreads out into all sorts of surprising things, and seeps into unexpected places. Airports can be used to propel entire stories, from Home Alone 2 to Make America Great Again. But with their narrative potential comes all the other parts of textuality, as well: the ambiguities, the uncertainties, and the tensions. The secret life of airports is brimming with these things, and there’s no escaping them. It’s one thing to imagine effortless transitions from one place to another; it’s quite another thing to fully inhabit these spaces, these awkward times on earth, and be conscious of them—aware that this is us, this is the pinnacle of mobility, human progress in the making, at least for now.