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On a sunny isle. March 26, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben was just reading an article on the Yahoo! home page about ten beautiful island getaways that were relatively close to the U.S. and offered fabulous beaches. The photos that accompanied the article showed breathtaking ocean views. And the descriptions of the hotels where you should stay if you go made it crystal clear that a vacation at any of these islands would cost thousands, or possibly tens of thousands, of dollars.

As always, I was stunned by this. Maybe I’m just a naive fool, but I always wonder about the wisdom of a mass medium like Yahoo! writing for the financial elite, the doctors, lawyers, celebrities, and Wall Street brokers who can actually afford to take these vacations. Not that there’s anything wrong with writing the articles, but why not say upfront that they’re for the rich and others need not apply? It was actually rather heartbreaking to see so much beauty and know that I could never afford to go there.

Silence Dogood and I stared at each dazzling photo, read the descriptions of every luxury hotel, and knew that this was the closest we would ever get to Hawai’i’s Big Island or to St. Martin or the coastal beauties of the Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, or even Puerto Rico. We can’t afford to go to Miami or Key West, much less offshore. We fantasize about going to Williamsburg for Christmas or to Asheville in spring or to the Southwest in summer. And sadly, those fantasies aren’t realized, as even car trips are prohibitively expensive. Do other “normal” people ever go on these fabulous trips to the sunny isles? And if so, how do they afford them?

Needless to say, we’re hardly alone in our enforced mental vacations. You have only to look at the writers of past ages to see how they made the best of their reduced circumstances, living broadly in their minds. The Brontes and Louisa May Alcott and Jane Austen and Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle all spring to mind, envisioning worlds outside their own. Not to mention J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and Sheri Tepper and Suzanne Collins and Guy Gavriel Kay and Mary Gentle and Sharon Kay Penman, and all those who have been able to transcend their own circumstances to envision others’.

Clearly, physical restraints, financial restraints, have never been able to curtail or curb the human imagination, our inherent need to see, to envision, to create. But oh God, to truly be able to see, with our own eyes, the wonders of this gorgeous planet! How sad that prohibitive pricing restricts this privilege to those who can afford it as a mark of status rather than allowing those who would most appreciate it for its own sake to participate. Shame on those of us who submit, and those who perpetuate such a shameful system.



1. Your Friend Ben - March 26, 2013

Oh my, sounds like someone has a serious case of “Cabin Fever”. Chin up, Spring will burst through soon and there is no more glorious place to be than Penn’s green woods in May.

Ha, very true! I’m always reminded of this on our rare trips through the Shenandoah Valley. As we go through each state, and especially Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, not to mention our home state of Tennessee if we happen to be heading there, or my beloved Mama’s home state of Kentucky, I am struck again and again by how beautiful each state is. I feel so lucky to live on the East Coast!

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