Holding History: 1744 Printing of The Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels

“Feels pretty complete,” I said as I held the ten-pound, nine-hundred-page beast of a book. Published in 1744 as the definitive collection of world travels, The Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels Consisting of Above Six Hundred of the Most Authentic Writers…(the title goes on forever)…by John Harris, is a fascinating read. While the theme of The Principal Voyages and Discoveries came courtesy of the Wu Tang Clan’s C.R.E.A.M. (cash rules everything around me), this tome leans more towards “knowledge is power.”

On the push to the north pole and northwest passage:

“…experience has taught us that the knowledge of the dark and dreary regions is very far from being useless and unprofitable, and still farther from being dry or unentertaining.”

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 I’m a sucker for foldout maps.

I’m a sucker for foldout maps.

  Notice the “sea unicorn” is a narwhal whale and “the Morse” is a walrus (strangely crude compared to the whale renderings) .

Notice the “sea unicorn” is a narwhal whale and “the Morse” is a walrus (strangely crude compared to the whale renderings).

While the drawings and descriptions of wildlife and distant lands are detailed and entertaining, I was most taken by Oxford academic Henry Maundrell’s account of Jerusalem in the late 17th century.

When we came to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, we found it crowded with a numerous Mob, who began their disorders by running round the Holy Sepulchre with all their Might, crying out Huia, i.e. This is he or this is it; by which they express the Truth of the Christian Religion. After, they began to act many antic tricks, like mad-men; sometimes they dragged one another round the Sepulchre, sometimes they set one man upon another’s shoulders, and so marched round; and sometimes they tumbled round the Sepulchre like tumblers on a stage, and acting the rudest things on this occasion.”

“You, sir, are acting the rudest!” I love it.

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I am far from a scholar, so I read these old travel accounts with naïveté. But I do know tourism, and when I found Maundrell’s description of ancient entry fees at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I simply nodded along.

“We found the church doors guarded by Sanizaries (soldiers) who suffer none to go in until they have paid their Caphar, which for Franks is commonly fourteen dollars per head, unless they be ecclesiastics, and then it is but half as much. This being once paid, you may go in and out gratis as oft as you please during the whole feast at the ordinary times when the door is open.”

This could be a fancy guy’s TripAdvisor review, yet his journey took place 322 years ago!

Also as of 322 years ago: The Great Wall when it was only “famous.”

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And Florida when it was only a little nub.

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There is so much to love about this book’s content and the book itself—a masterwork of publishing. Just remember, lift with the legs.

Made possible by my membership to The Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Holding History: The 1589 Printing of The Principal Navigations, Voyages and Discoveries of the English Nation

Holding History: The 1589 Printing of The Principal Navigations, Voyages and Discoveries of the English Nation

Before we even get started on this book’s content, I have to finish writing the title: The Principal Navigations, Voyages and Discoveries of the English Nation Made By Sea or Land to the Farthest, Distant Quarters of the Earth at Any Time Within The Compass of these 1600 Years.

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Holding History: The 1784 Printing of Captain James Cook's Voyage to the South Pole and Round the World

Holding History: The 1784 Printing of Captain James Cook's Voyage to the South Pole and Round the World

"There's just something about a book in your hand" went to another level today as I read through a 1784 printing of A Voyage Towards The South Pole and Round the World by Captain James Cook. 

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Holding History - Ernest Shackleton and the Special Edition Heart of the Antarctic

Holding History - Ernest Shackleton and the Special Edition Heart of the Antarctic

“Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons. Some are actuated simply by the love of adventure, some have a keen thirst for scientific knowledge, and others again are drawn away from the trodden paths by the “lure of little voices,” the mysterious fascination of the unknown.”

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When Anthony Bourdain Speaks, I Listen

“It’s punishing,” Bourdain says with a grimace. “The sort of frenzied compression of time needed to take the tour, to see the sights, keeps you in a bubble that prevents you from having magic happen to you. Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

Since Kitchen Confidential and No Reservations came on the scene, I've been listening to whatever Anthony Bourdain has to say.  CLICK HERE for this great interview and piece on Anthony from MoneyLook for the term "nerd fury" and the genius travel advice tactic it stems from.  (And set your DVRs. The 11th season of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown starts April 29th on CNN.)  

A Guide to Transformational Travel (TravelAge West)

I was nodding along to this TravelAge West article by Mindy Poder at every line.  Every trip changes you in some way, and it is the travel providers and brands that very purposefully design their user experiences around the fact that people want to change for the better.  "Transform" is the buzz word.  It's certainly what I strived for in creating expeditions that added new elements to a familiar place, or a personal connection with a particular culture, artisan or expert.  You want the user to find something within themselves while they are in your care that they might otherwise have left unexplored.  This article is a great overview of that process. 

CLICK HERE for the full article. 

 

PODCAST: Why Not Now? with Amy Jo Martin

Solid, solid, solid podcast that features interviews with successful people who at a crucial time in their life asked themselves, "Why not now?"  Host Amy Jo Martin is insightful, warm and carries the interviews along smoothly.  And the interviewees?  Really interesting people like Simon Sinek, Mark Cuban, investor Chris Sacca (you may remember him from Gimlet's The Startup Podcast), Amy Purdy.  Some of my favorites are from people new to me, like Tani Austin who travels the world to help people hear.  

Amy Jo mines the applicable insights from each guest's "why not now?" moment.  Give it a listen; maybe it will inspire you to take that trip you've been talking about for a while, or take a leap into something new. 

Check it out now. 

Skift's 2018 Megatrends Reports

If you work in the travel industry, you probably already know about Skift, the media, insights and marketing platform--an intelligence platform, as they call themselves.  I've been loving Skift's articles and insights, but their Megatrends Report is fantastic.  

Pieces cover topics like "Personal Fulfillment is the New Ultimate Luxury," cities navigating visitor and local economies, and blockchain changing the technology race in travel.  It really runs the gamut and the writing is engaging as well.  Not the slow, drab reporting typically found in such compendia.  

If you're interested in seeing where the travel industry is heading, check it out.  It's free!