Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Lists and New Year’s resolutions

I think that Tyler Brule needs to take a break from travel.

Winter Sunrise With a noticeable dip in blog traffic over the holidays, I’m broadening my early-morning reading to take in recent columns by some of my favorite essayists.  This morning, I logged in to the FT Weekend to catch up with Fast Lane columnist Tyler Brule, writing about “Top tips to stay travel slick”.

I have to admit that the whole concept of “travel slick” is a bit of a mystery: I guessed that it had something to do with grooming or efficiency.

Instead, it was a list of his top travel recommendations.

Well and good, I always like to find new places to visit and special things to see or do.  But his list focused, instead, on the process of travel: which airlines and hotels offered good amenities or little extras.

It’s a bit sobering.  When a vagabond’s life contracts to keeping a small-minded catalog of airlines offering fluted glasses and remodeled hotel gift shops, it turns the whole pleasure of travel on its head.  Isn’t the delight supposed to be in the places you go and the people you meet, not the appointments of an airline lounge?  What sort of people would envy, let alone emulate, Tyler’s experiences this year?

I’m not the only one questioning this: the Economist recently asked whether Tyler’s focus on judging hotels by the quality of their club sandwich isn’t stretching things a bit.

With a sigh, I put it down.  I can’t wait to see his New Year’s resolutions…

In fact, reflecting on that thought, doesn’t the type and quality of our lists say a lot about our interests and priorities in life?

If I take time to write about “10 worst business books of the year” or “12 memorable sunsets”, “6 can’t-miss sailing anchorages” or “5 great presentations”, that is a mirror of what I’ve sought and done over the past year.  Not just about the breadth of my experiences or whether I was paying attention, but more about the things I think about and care about in my life.

‘Back, then, to the resolution thing.  Rather than making a list of things I want to change or accomplish in the coming year, I’d like to create the titles for the top-10 lists that I want to publish at year’s end.

I’ve got a week to think about it, and the whole world and spectrum of potential experiences to choose among.  I like the exercise, it fits my philosophy of always looking for new ways to live in the world rather than to retreat from it.

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