It’s that time of year when a lot of people dream of traveling to tropical locales. We’ve had a pretty mild winter thus far, so the urge to get away from the cold and wet may not be as strong as, say, last year (remember last January? If you’re from this area, I’m sure you do).
This year, instead of going to the library to check out travel guides, perhaps a little armchair traveling will do just fine. If so, I would like to recommend Simon Adams’ “Journey: An Illustrated History of Travel.” It’s published by Dorling Kindersley, which is known for its beautifully illustrated titles, but it’s also produced in association with the Smithsonian Institution, and that powerhouse combination has resulted in a truly stunning book. I’m not the only one to be wowed, by the way. Reviews are singing its praises, with one reviewer for “Library Journal” commenting that “readers will be struck by the sheer wonder of it all.” Exactly.
Maps, photographs, eyewitness accounts, ephemera — this book is packed (travel pun!) with information. In case you’re wondering if this history of travel is limited to more modern-day experiences involving powered modes of transportation, the answer is a resounding “no.” Adams starts his exploration with the Ancient World, 3000 BCE. Think camels, wagons, and lots of traveling by foot. In other words, you didn’t need a travel agent to book your journey, you just went. If you were lucky enough to be part of the Minoan culture, which just happened to take a big step forward with the building of wooden ships, you might have been able to cruise around the Mediterranean, trading with other islands and enjoying the sea breeze. Well, cruising might not be the best term. From the looks of the Minoan ship design, rowing your heart out was more like it. All the more reason to enjoy the sea breeze, I suppose.
From traveling by donkey to pushing an oar (remember — 100 percent hard work, 0 percent like a cruise), touring by locomotive to flying to Mars (SpaceX, some day), humans have been traveling for millennia and will continue to travel for as long as the human race continues. Check out “Journey” and hit the road, bibliographically-speaking, as the history of travel unfolds over 440 fascinating pages. No reservation required.