Monday, November 16, 2015

david brooks $120,000 vacation...,


NYTimes |  Sometimes money backfires. People buy a house with a huge yard, but they are so far removed from their neighbors they never really experience community. Sometimes people design an apartment so in line with Architectural Digest-level perfection that they can never really be rambunctious or feel at home.

For most people on this particular trip, money did not backfire. They were enthusiastic about the experiences and happy to be making new friends and traveling in this self-contained luxury caravan. Plus, it’s important not to romanticize hassle. It’s one thing to say you should have an authentic travel experience with the people, but sometimes sitting for four hours on the floor of the Casablanca airport is just a useless pain. If you’ve got money, one of the best ways to spend it is on things that will save you time.

But sometimes money allows you to see too many things, too quickly. Sometimes if you seize all the opportunities your money affords, you may end up skimming over life and nothing is deep enough to leave a mark. There is a piece of travel literature wisdom, of uncertain attribution, that reads, ‘‘He who has seen one cathedral 10 times has seen something; he who has seen 10 cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.’’ If you’re in a major city for 48 hours, is it best to sample the highlights, or drill down? I really enjoyed tagging along with this gang for part of their journey. But some of the most memorable moments came from breaking away, wandering alone through the astonishing streets of St. Petersburg, one of the world’s great cities.

And, yet, I must confess, other sweet small moments came when I just said what the heck and enjoyed the self-indulgence. The caviar in Russia was really nice. So was the beautiful hotel pool in Morocco, the sweet staff at every stop and the little cubes of Turkish delight. And yes, over the course of the three days at the Four Seasons in Istanbul, I did drink both bottles of champagne.
Of course, we all have a responsibility to reduce inequality in our society. But maybe not every day.