EDITOR'S LETTER

A Plane Ride Today Needs to Be Worth It

By Nina Willdorf, Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

Nina Willdorf

Nina Willdorf

Each month, I plan to share snapshots from my own travels with you. But for the next couple of issues, I hope you'll be OK with this glossier version of me. I just had my first baby, Mimi, on November 19. And as much as I'm dying to be out there, drinking a cocktail from a conch shell on Turks and Caicos, snagging one of those chic Philippe Starck-designed rooms in Paris, and catching a rockabilly show at the Continental Club in Austin, for the time being, my excursions are mostly limited to my favorite neighborhood café, Gorilla Coffee, and, when weather permits, Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

That'll change soon, I know. And when it does, I want to explore the world with my daughter, as my parents did with me. My earliest memories include marveling at a sunrise in Utah's Monument Valley and cheering a parade of costumed locals in a village in Normandy. The remarkable thing about travel is its ability to turn us into wide-eyed children again. As much as we all want to be in the know, the most rewarding times I've ever had as a traveler are when I've allowed myself to be naive, to embrace feeling comfortably confused and dislocated. As so many destinations start to feel the same (does one really have to go to Tokyo to try yet another Gordon Ramsay restaurant?), my new rule of thumb is that a plane ride needs to be worth it—to take me someplace different enough to justify all the hassle. Especially today, as travel gets trickier and more expensive—and as our time and resources become increasingly limited—it's all the more important to seek out experiences that remind us just how fulfilling it is to be curious again.