This post was originally intended as a reminder that my giveaway for the 3-piece packing cube set ends on Wednesday.
But then I read that Google, after acquiring the Frommer’s series of travel guides seven months ago, is reportedly halting production of the printed books. Although I wholeheartedly embrace every internet tool available to enable and enrich my travel experience, I am sad to see the beginning of the end of packable travel guide books.
Before leaving for my semester abroad, I pored over Let’s Go Europe with the intensity I failed to direct toward The European Philosophers from Descartes to Nietzsche. It accompanied me to London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Nice, Venice, and Florence, providing good enough directions to get me to cheap meals and hostels. I tore pages out and gave them to other student pilgrims and shoved ticket stubs and receipts between the dog-eared pages.
All of the information contained in that book, and so much more, is available to today’s backpackers via the internet. But it means they’re necessarily tethered to a smart phone or tablet, making them vulnerable targets for petty theft and dependent on wireless connections.
I think it’s important to travel simply so you have room in your mind and heart to acquire the things that really matter – successfully deciphering a foreign rail timetable, the solemn beauty of Rembrandt’s Night Watch, the satisfaction of a torn piece of warm bread and fresh cheese. I’m blessed to have those memories and a bit sad to think that tomorrow’s young travelers might only recall how bad the cell service was in Morocco.