Sunday, January 21, 2007

Catherine Watson and the Sunday Travel Section

windmills, mykonos, greeceThe Minneapolis Star Tribune has a Sunday Travel Section that I've read for years. Growing up, those articles gave me a fascination for other places and a strong desire to travel. After reading the stories, I would check out travel books from the local library (this was before the internet) and order travel guides from the different destinations described in the paper. I kept my favorite articles for years, planning travels of my own. Most of these articles were written by Catherine Watson, the travel editor of the paper from 1978-2004.

Michael Yessis at World Hum interviewed Ms. Watson in 2005, when her book, Roads Less Traveled: Dispatches from the Ends of the Earthwas published. In the interview, he asked about her travel philosophy. Her reply is worth reprinting here:

Go everywhere you can.

Be passionately curious.

Talk to everyone who’ll let you, especially the quiet people.

Stay till the bitter end. If the ceremonial lasts all day, so do you—you never know what’ll happen at the end.

Be able to turn on a dime. Throw out your itinerary if something better comes along, and it always will.

Don’t sweat the small stuff—or the bad beds, or the bed bugs, or the wet shoes or whatever. The discomforts will pass, the shoes will dry, and the memories will last.

And maybe more than anything: Commit to the trip. Commit to the moment. Really be there.

mykonos church"Roads Less Traveled" is a collection of travel stories from her time at the Star Tribune. A story from the book, Incident in a Spanish Church, was posted on World Hum at the same time as the interview. A new dispatch, Unlocking Beirut, was recently added to the site. If you missed the book when it first came out, I encourage you to pick it up now.

*Photos from Mykonos, Greece