The world is becoming both smaller and larger at the same time. In fact, it's much like the Internet. The easier our access to information becomes, the more our eyes are opened (and perhaps brains dulled) to just how much information there is to be had. It's staggering. That set of World Book encyclopedias seemed pretty exhaustive in our youth, but now we realize that the topics it covered were a mere cheat sheet to where Google can take us.
And so it is with the Earth. Our access to knowledge about the world, its peoples, cultures, conflicts and histories has never been greater. And although the obscurity of many heretofore non-promoted locales has largely retreated, the sheer magnitude of what we've found can be overwhelming. Because when you divide the number of places on Earth that can be visited by the number of years many of us have left... it can seem a daunting task.
Which is where James Samans' new book, Spontaneous Tourism: The Busy Person's Guide To Travel, starts to become a more helpful topic. The premise is that more people should travel. Period. A trip doesn't have to be long, it doesn't necessarily have to be far away, and it certainly shouldn't be something saved for retirement or "some day." Traveling increases our interest and appreciation in the world, its people, art and culture, and helps broaden our understanding for even processing the daily news.
But the book isn't a travel guide in the traditional sense. It doesn't tell you where to go or what you should do once you get there - although it does highlight several good destinations to get you started, both in the U.S. and abroad. The purpose of the book is (a) encouraging you to travel and why it's important, (b) showing how travel doesn't have to be as time-consuming or as costly as many perceive it to be, and (c) the logistics of efficient traveling after you've settled on a destination and means.