Essays About

Trips Without Traveling

The worst part of travel is the traveling. The destination is my goal, the journey the unfortunate cost. I lose two days of a precious week's vacation to airplanes, car rental counters, and waiting in traffic on freeways. The chore of changing locations compels me, against my wish, to do my traveling all at once: to cram four cities into five days, to rise earlier on vacation than I do at home, to choose exhaustion over the regret of slowing down. I wish I could travel like I eat, in small regular meals, not once-a-year binges. I daydream of a network of machines that would atomize my body at my origin and reassemble it from other atoms at my destination, so I could visit Russia over my lunch hour or take my evening walk in Rio. Absent an atomizer, give me the bullet train of books, which whisk me across continents in an instant without suitcases or jet lag. I want to see too many places to wait for matter to tag along. A traveler packs too heavy if he takes his body with him.