Stavans: Reclaiming Travel

Submitted on Monday, 7/16/2012, at 12:13 PM

Why do we travel? And do we do it well anymore? Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture Ilan Stavans and his co-author Joshua Ellison, editor of the literary journal Habitus, recently took up those questions in an opinion piece for the New York Times. They lamented, “We have turned travel into something ordinary, deprived it of allegorical grandeur. We have made it a business: the business of being on the move. Whatever impels us to travel, it is no longer the oracle, the pilgrimage or the gods. It is the compulsion to be elsewhere, anywhere but here... travel is a search for meaning, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of others. The humility required for genuine travel is exactly what is missing from its opposite extreme, tourism.”