Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The travel section.

Subscribing to The Oregonian when we moved out here was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. That may sound like hyperbole, but I don't think it is. I know it's a little late in the game to have been made into a newspaper person when the industry is dying, but so be it. I fully understand that almost every other person my age, and really pretty much every other person in general, gets the news these days (that is if they're interested in getting the news at all) by logging on daily to, The Huffington Post,, etc., but I just don't like it. When I try reading this stuff it just seems too fast and jumbled to me, like I'm reading it but not really comprehending it. And yes, I swear I wasn't born in the 1950s. I love reading blogs about random things and about people's personal takes on the world to infinity, obviously, but when it comes to sitting down and really finding out what's happening in the world, I just want to be sitting on my couch, in my pajamas, with big crinkly paper whose ink smears off onto my fingertips, when I feel calm and focused and able to let the information really seep into my brain. Even if the information is two weeks old because I haven't had time in two weeks to sit down, in my pajamas, and read anything before that point, I don't care. I don't know what to tell you, that's just the way it is.

There are numerous reasons why I love The Oregonian, and newspapers, some more of which I'll perhaps get to in even more mind-numbing installments on this blog, but for now I want to focus on the best part of the week: the Travel section in the Sunday paper.

Sometimes when I'm not in the right mood, or none of the articles stand out, or I just want to push through to get to some more sections of the paper because I have a really huge stack of papers to get through, reading the Travel section is just okay. But when I am in the right mood, it makes me happy like you wouldn't believe. I have had the wanderlust for a long time, which is no secret, and I will never get rid of it. However, this wanderlust has led me to make some irresponsible decisions in the past. I mean, wanderlust is inherently irresponsible. To people who don't have it, extra money means savings. For people who kind of have it, extra money means, hey, let's go somewhere! For people who have it really bad like me, extra money normally doesn't exist, but having no money doesn't always hold you back when it should--when you have credit cards! The experience of seeing new places and new things is worth it for a little debt. And I do still think this, but my debt has gotten a little out of hand, and grad school has only made my situation even darker. (While I have never been a luxurious traveler, any sort of travel involves a decent sum of money.) To make a long, too-personal story short, I sometimes have moments of rationality and realize I have to stay put for awhile. Of course, I will still be traveling a lot in the next few years because lots of people I love are getting married and they all happen to live on the opposite coast. But that's different.

My point is: the Travel section can be, and satisfy, my need to travel sometimes, if just in my mind. Because you better bet that every time I read about someplace really interesting and wonderful-sounding, I read the article with the conviction that I will in fact go there one day. I am planning the trips right now, in my head! Even if these notions are nowhere near true, imagining that they can be is enough, sometimes.

My favorite articles seem to be not ones about international and exotic destinations (although I of course like those too) but ones that are about Oregon and the Northwest. Oregon is a vast, diverse place, and while I have been able to see quite a bit of it, there always seems to be more. In fact, the idea that I won't get to see all the places I want to see before we move back East makes my heart palpitate a bit.

My only complaint about the Travel section is how inherently catered to the upper-middle-class it is. I'm a little put off sometimes by articles that always list restaurants and hotels that only rich people could enjoy. While I know that listing the best of the best is what travel writers are supposed to do, the implication that this is where you should eat and stay when you visit these places, and knowing that I could never afford any of them, makes me feel kind of crappy. Beyond that, the idea of just being able to visit any of the places listed in these pages at all is literally way out of reach for a lot of people.

That said, since I am going to go to all of these places one day--right?--right?!--this is my current itinerary of things to do, just from the last two Travel sections I've read:

- Downtown McMinnville, drinking Willamette Valley wine and eating ice cream!
- Taking an intense bike ride through the desert of the Four Corners!
- Enjoying Christmas in New York City!
- Taking a ferry from Seattle to Poulsbo, a Scandinavian town on a bay full of European things!
- Oh, and I'm also going to be going to a few places in South America and Southeast Asia. And I'm going to be going to Europe pretty frequently, too. Obviously.

I know, pretty sweet, right? Don't worry; I'll post pictures.


  1. we're still going to Iceland, right?

  2. Oh Jill, I want to copy the things you said about reading the newspaper for my dad, because I think he would be heartened to know that people still read articles on actual paper! I like it too.