Meaningful places

I’d like to go: Hagia Sophia, Watership Down, Wayland’s smithy, Arcosanti, Biosphere 2, Lightning Field, Clock of the Long Now, Yorkshire dales, Roden crater, Kilimanjaro, Iceland, LIGO, CERN, Square Kilometer Array, Olympus Mons, Everest Base Camp, Complex City, Dwan Light Sanctuary, the Smithsonian, Kitty Hawk, the Spiral Jetty, Svalbard seed vault, the Hyperion tree, the Cave of Hands, Tranquility Base, Papakolea (Green Sand Beach), Allen Telescope Array (SETI), and the sailing stones of Racetrack Playa.

I’ve been: Hay-on-Wye, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion Narrows, Sensorio, Pando tree, Palomar, sequoia grove, Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Waimea Canyon, Mavericks, Sea Ranch, Santa Fe Institute, Googleplex, New York City, Newton’s grave (at Westminster Abbey), Uffizi, Meow Wolf, Mystere, Penn and Teller, the Strip, Somerset Dam, unnamed fire tower in New Mexico, Very Large Array, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Ghost Ranch, Institute for Advanced Study, Oppenheimer’s house in Los Alamos (outside), Einstein’s house in Princeton (outside), Hewlett-Packard garage, Tongariro track, Routeburn track, Wellington, Milford Sound, Centerpoint tower, Empire State Building, the (new) World Trade Center, Central Park (especially the Mall and the Ramble), Brooklyn Bridge, the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, Bloomsbury, the Great Barrier Reef, Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Te Anau, the Louvre, the Met, Shinjuku/Shibuya Crossing, Imperial Palace Gardens in Toyko, Coolum Beach, Noosa National Park, Land’s End in San Francisco, Lamington National Park, Powell’s Bookstore, Page One and Page One Too.

“Travel is the only education”: I don’t recall who said this, but it’s stayed with me as containing some important insight. Perhaps because different places and different cultures are so incredibly and diversely generative. You stand in the Imperial Garden in Tokyo, and you’re just immersed in this incredible depth around you. And then you visit the Strip in Las Vegas, and there’s an entirely different type of depth. Even you can’t articulate it, you can feel it, and it’s reflected all around.

Something I don’t like about the phrase is that it has medicinal, do-this-it’s-good-for-you overtones. But good travel is refreshing and rejuvenating; it shouldn’t be done for puritanical, let’s check-off-the-checkboxes reasons.