Every Sunday morning I read the paper from front to back_at first. As I get closer to the end, I start shuffling the sections. I save my tastiest morsel for last: the travel section.
I linger on the front travel page, not wanting to end my reading_unless it’s football season, but that’s another story. I turn the pages. Before I’m aware of it, I’m done. I’ve arrived on the last page, with a big fat travel agency ad. And I’m not happy, not satisfied. Not once. Not even if the section includes stories about locations I have great interest in. (New Orleans, Las Vegas, Memphis, Northern California, Northern Michigan, the Florida Keys, Ireland, Holland come immediately to mind.)
Considering my favorite segment is consistently the Gearbox column, reviewing travel accessories, I come away feeling some part of my appetite is yet to be sated.
Am I asking too much for a newspaper travel section to deliver? Well, perhaps. I realize that what I’m after are travel narratives that I can luxuriate in_bright, fresh, poetically prosey, non-indulgent (for the writer) narratives. Which I’m not likely to get from my Sunday morning read. Having identified and managed that expectation, I realize then that I can make more of this travel section.
I can translate “If you go” to “What else?” Change my mind-set from “What isn’t this giving me?” to “Where might this lead me?”
Sappy sensibilities aside, I begin to consider my Sunday newspaper travel section not as an indulgence but as an industry tool, a professional launchpad and a necessary window on global perspective.
All the better if I happen to get a side of thick bacon-y narrative with that.