I work in Dupont Circle, right down the street from my favorite book store in the city, Krammer’s Books and afterwords cafe. When I need a break from work, to clear my head, to press the reset button I like to walk over there and walk around. Being with books has always been a calming thing for me, I noticed it long ago that I would send time in book stores or libraries and come feeling more relaxed, more interested in the world, more ready to take on the problem i was facing. Book stores use to be my churches, and then I became Jewish and now I go to shul (which still contains a lot of books, some things never change.)
One of the other things that make me feel better when I’m as my old co-worker us to say “rah rah rah” is thinking about travel. Letting myself day dream about where I would be, either on a vacation, working aboard, taking a year off, whatever it may be.
Today, which i have thought about other days is travel books. Not guide books about the locations, often new editions come out before I got somewhere if I buy one to go with my wanderlust, and i would just end up with a lot of $30 a pop guidebooks, I I have wanderlust A LOT. I thought I would look at travel writings, there plenty of books. Here finally is the point of this post- the travel memories out there often don’t mesh with me, often people have travel for a reason (mostly valid) to re-define or re-discover something in there lives- they often feel self serving, and whinny (the lack of gratitude expressed kind of amazes me) people who don’t realize how lucky they are to be able to afford to travel (in time, in money, in supports,) and then lucky enough to write about it- I don’t want to read someone’s travel journal – because I don’t want you to read mine but I also don’t want drab BS. I’ll own that part of my issue with travel writing, is that I’m jealous, people are getting to do not one but two things I won’t mind doing 1- TRAVELING and 2- WRITING. I haven’t read as much travel writing as I might want to, because I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the few that I’ve tried before.
I’m not sure what I want out of travel writing, I want it to temporarily fill the void that my wanderlust is creating. I want it be humble and vivid and I want them to get out of there heads.
I do like Anthony Doerr’s Four Seasons in Rome, he is funny and vivid and I love Italy. It’s also not after a break-up or other tragic life event. Chasing Chaos I enjoyed, but Wanderlust, Eat Pray Love, and a handful of others left me disappointed. I’ll keep looking.