It seems that cold places really are getting more space in our travel, and, unfortunately, pointless tourism. In the new Jan/Feb 08 issue of Perceptive Travel, Marie Javins has one of the most excellent essays I’ve ever read about the disappointment encountered when trying to experience the soul-thrilling empty ice of Antarctica. When a fellow passenger prods her to count how many countries she’s been to (“C’mon. Everybody knows. Don’t pretend you haven’t counted” has got to be the best distillation of the much-argued difference between tourists and travelers I’ve ever read) she realizes that the once-in-a-lifetime encounter she’d been hoping for is lost among the 37,500 tourists who ticked Antarctica off their lists that year.
Antarctica is a place I, too, have dreamed of going to. But after reading Javins’s essay, I’m more inclined to wait and follow some of her recommendations on how not to see the ice as one of thousands of tourists.
In addition to stories on a desert survival school in Utah and traveling up the river in Borneo, this issue also has David Lee Drotar traveling across Arctic Finland not by plane train, and automobile, but by snowmobile, snowshoe, dogsled, icebreaker ship, and reindeer sleigh.
And Fawzia Rasheed de Francisco has a very funny essay of particular interest to me as a new parent: is it really that hard to travel with kids? What are the drawbacks? What are the phantom fears? And what happens to all those happy life-in-my-rucksack twenty-somethings when they have kids? It can’t be that scary or difficult. After all, she points out, children do live in most parts of the world. Which made me ready to start thinking about my son’s first trip once he’s well enough to fly.
And kudos to Perceptive Travel magazine, which published Amy Rosen’s article “How to Build an Igloo (at 40 Below),” which won a First Prize from the North American Travel Journalists Association.