In a former life, I lived with a young visionary who ran a student-oriented travel company. He ate his breakfast slowly, usually while he flipped silently through the pages of a magazine, looking intently at the design of the advertisements. At the time, I was working for a luxury tour operator, and we often talked about the aspirational quality of tourism and the reams of bucket lists that it had spawned. Nearly everybody, regardless of income or social standing, seems to have at least one place they’re dying to visit.
And travel has the power to be mind-expanding, especially when it’s accompanied by an open heart. The odd contradiction is that it’s hard to get to the root of somewhere if you’re visiting as a tourist: when you’ve been sold an idea about a place and the reality doesn’t match the fantasy. There’s only so many ways in which the place itself can change. Maybe, instead, the impact comes with changing the fantasy.