Just recently, the Virtuoso luxury travel network came out with a list of “Election Escapes”— destinations as close as Canada and as far away as Antarctica that it recommends as the best places to get away from this year’s particularly grueling presidential election—for both before the election and after the results are in.
Although the list was released with tongue firmly in cheek, Virtuoso is, of course, on to something.
One of the reasons travel is so compelling is that it has a kind of split personality: it appeals to those who are running towards something but also to those running away from something.
And that goes for people who rarely travel, for whatever reason, and even for those who never travel. For the latter it’s a powerful aspiration.
The running away part may sound a bit negative but I think the opposite is the case. Escaping from bad weather, from everyday stresses and doldrums, from family we need a break from, from tiresome if not downright upsetting situations in our national life (yup, the election)—are all escape worthy.
And this kind of travel—there’s a reason tour operators, and all of us really, routinely use the word “getaway”—gives us a chance to unwind, rejuvenate and focus on something other than, well, all of the above.
Then there are the personal problems we want to escape.
That kind of escape, especially, might carry a negative connotation because most of us recognize that we can’t really escape our problems by running away. Would that it were that simple. But the received wisdom is: “We take ourselves with us wherever we go,” and “When we return, we return to the same problems.”
Even here, though, travel’s ability to take us out of ourselves—even for short periods of time—can provide us with a clearer view of what we’re facing, a different way of looking at it, a different perspective. Maybe even a solution.
There’s also no one-size-fits-all escape.
For some of us, it’s a deserted beach—or one as deserted as we can find these days—for others it’s a bustling city. It might be a ship cruising the Caribbean or Mediterranean, a smaller vessel navigating a river in Europe or Asia, a self-drive trip to explore one country after another on one’s own, a walk along a country lane, a trek through a remote jungle.
We can choose active adventure or sedentary relaxation. We can travel in a group—large or small—with a significant other or solo.
That’s the beauty of it all. I hesitate to use the word “infinite” for the astounding number of destinations and modes of travel out there for our escapes.
But I’m tempted to.