Subject: Celebrating Tourism (was Re: Tourists vs. Travelers)
Dear Johathan and All Ziners,

I loved your thoughtful and insightful post, Johnathan. It made me think of some really happy and exciting moments of pure old fashioned tourism:

Standing in the middle of Times Square and gawking at the lights, people and buildings.

Being a part of the crowd at Niagara Falls. The scene there is exciting, with so many people from all over the world.

My very first trip as an adult: my new (now ex) husband won a trip to Las Vegas for sales, and when we found out, we jumped up and down on the couch, yelling, We're going to Las Vegas! We're going to Las Vegas!

Joining the throngs and entering St Peter's in Rome. Oh my God.

You know, so many trips later and I am still enthusiastic but hardly as awestruck and as easily excitable as way back when. I actually love tourists. Let me explain: when I am at the airport and am off on my fifth or sixth trip to Europe in five years, I am happy. But when I see those folks who are joining up with their tour groups, and waiting breathlessly for their first overseas flight, I am reminded that we are truly blessed to live in the age where travel has become democratized enough that most people in developed countries can get a vacation if they want one. This is wonderful.

Before my parents, no one in our family had ever been on a trip, other than to immigrate. My wish is that all people, no matter where they live or what their social standing or education may be, can get away from home. Let them do what they want: stand in line at Disney World or climb a Himalayan mountain. I am so privileged to have these choices. The world would be better if everyone could have them.

Dreaming in Pittsburgh, and counting my blessings, Debbie