Many of you have sent me a copy of last weekend’s NYTimes article, “Who Needs a Whirlwind Trip When You Can Take It Slow?” Thanks. But no thanks.
A lot of people need, enjoy and prosper with a whirlwind trip, including me. Among the others: those who aren’t super rich, those who don’t get unlimited time off, those who are exceptionally curious, those who are savvy enough to know that four days is usually no better than two and those who recognize that at the current moment “slow travel” is about the biggest come-on I’ve seen in my half century in this industry.
I can think of two reasons this might make any sense.
1. You’ve got the money.
It’s usually always better to stay more than less. But not because as the article suggests your trip then becomes “more mindful” or you “experience more.” It’s simply because it’s more relaxing because you aren’t repacking and waiting in lines.
And yes, a relaxed disposition is a better one for enjoying where you are. But is three days much better than two? Are you more relaxed – or tearing out your hair – when you book a two-week trip of 3-night stints and discover that one or two of those stints is a dud?
Aha! Better to survey the destination more efficiently then return to the places you decide you really liked. I’ve got lots of travelers that do that. That’s a brilliant way to do things. And they’re all quite rich.
2. Covid Rules
They got this one right, at least for now. Each time you change a country you’ll most likely have to go through Covid testing. We really don’t know how difficult or expensive or reliable all of this is, because it’s all relatively new. So a lot of the apprehension at the moment is because no one really knows what it fully means.
On the other hand, we all know what it means if your test comes back positive. It means you’re dead in your tracks. So if you’re traveling from South Africa to Botswana to Zambia and then home, and you get a positive test before going to Botswana… Well, you’re screwed because you can’t go on until you test negative.
Of course you’re screwed, too, if the negative test comes before you head home. But in that case it really doesn’t matter whether you’ve just finished ten one-night stands or one ten-night stand.
Travel means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but there is one thing in common with all true travelers’ greatest aspirations:
How you get that is available to people of all persuasions and resources and is a crucial step in mending mankind’s traumatic divisions right now. Because what’s new to you is old to those who live there, and no matter how fast your subway races past the station, you’ve got to wonder who gets off that platform, why and where they go.
Curiosity might have killed the cat but it’s the salve that mends our souls.
Travel refreshes our tolerances. It challenges our apprehensions. Travel proves that “escape” can be therapeutic.
And for many of us with really gluttonous psyches, the more, the better!
Stay safe and slow down when you can, if you want. But whatever you do, don’t stop.
(Several weeks ago I wrote about the new challenges of travel during Covid: click here.)