A Souk in Marrakech, Morocco
New York Times celebrity opinion maker and columnist David Brooks discovers the benefits of simple travel in today’s column:
“Recently I did a little reporting from Kenya and Tanzania before taking a safari with my family. We stayed in seven camps. Some were relatively simple, without electricity or running water. Some were relatively luxurious, with regular showers and even pools.
The simple camps were friendly, warm and familial. . . . The more elegant camps felt colder…”
Brooks goes on to coin a phrase, the ‘Haimish Line,’ referring to the “warmth, domesticity and unpretentious conviviality” found in some places and not others. He decides that more often than not, the extra dollars we spend on luxury isolate us and puts us on the wrong side of the ‘Haimish Line.’
We found this to be true in Morocco. For simplicity, ease and efficiency we took a group tour of the African nation. The tour whisked us through many of the country’s great sites. We covered far more ground in our single week of vacation than we ever would have been able to as independent travelers. But we paid a price for the convenience.
Break free from the culture bubble and enjoy the local hookah, like Shannon here at Djemma el Fna square
We stayed in large western hotels at the cities’ edge. We traveled in air conditioned buses. Most everyone we spoke to spoke English. It was all safe, comfortable, familiar and totally apart from the place we were visiting. The tour was like traveling through an exotic location in a giant bubble of western culture. We took so much of home with us that we didn’t really get to experience the place we traveled so far to visit. We were on the wrong side of Brooks’ Haimish Line.
Brooks proceeds to make broader points about how money is often unwisely spent to isolate us. He eventually concludes with a thought that is a bit of theme here at EverywhereOnce:
Surveying the vast literature of happiness research, prominent scholars suggest: Buy experiences instead of things; buy many small pleasures instead of a few big ones; pay now for things you can look forward to and enjoy later.
Cheers to that.