Travel is like many other things in life–we get what we put into it. So much of the pleasure of travel is anticipation: plotting the route, learning about history and culture, imagining the sights, preparing the senses for new tastes and aromas. Travel guides help us with the planning, but they often urge us to rush from site to site, accumulating tourist points until we’re totally exhausted and eager to return home.
There’s so much we can learn about the art of travel from the writer Frances Mayes. In chapter 2 of her book “A Year in the World,” Mayes describes how she navigated through Portugal without compass, astrolabe or GPS. She knows when to slow down to enjoy the scenery, how to spot a good restaurant that no guidebook has noticed, how to be open to happenstance. And her writing places us on location, enjoying our vacation before it even starts!