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Travel / Special Interest / Ecotourism > Reservations

A Canadian Author Canadian Read

Reservations: The Pleasures and Perils of Travel

By Steve Burgess

Where to buy

Publish Date

April 27, 2024


Travel / Essays & Travelogues
Business & Economics / Industries / Hospitality, Travel & Tourism


A personal investigation into the real price of our holidays. Travel was once a marker of sophistication. Now the tourist is just as likely to be viewed as one locust in an annihilating swarm. Tourists face tough questions: When does economic opportunity become exploitation? How do we justify the use of climate-changing jet fuel? And can we be sure our tourist dollars aren’t propping up corrupt and brutal regimes? Now, as the world returns to travel, Steve Burgess asks: Is satisfying our own wanderlust worth the trouble it causes everyone else? Or is the tourist guilty of the charges—from voyeurism to desecration—levelled against them by everyone from environmentalists to exhausted locals to superior-feeling fellow tourists who have traded in the tour bus for “authentic experiences”? In this smart and sharply funny interrogation of our right to roam, Burgess looks into the traveller’s soul, sharing the stories of some of his most personally-significant travels, from Rome to Tana Toraja, and looking to studies and experts around the world for insight into why we travel and how we could do it better. And throughout, he tells the story of a month in Japan—his first trip outside North America—and the whirlwind cross-cultural romance that brought him there, and took him on a journey around the country in search of wonder and maybe even love.

ISBN: 9781771624015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 312
Publisher: Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Ltd.
Published: April 27, 2024

“Steve’s sly humour made Reservations so much fun to read but it’s his candour about what leaves many of us conflicted about travel that has stayed with me—from the environmental impact of tourism to selfie culture. A reminder of why and how we should travel, his gentle message to those obsessively checking off bucket lists is, ‘Serendipity is the bucket with a hole in it.’ More than anything, this is a man who loves seeing the world and it was a joy seeing it with him.”“Whether you’re a tourist or a traveller, a voyageur or a voluntourist, a flâneur or a daytripper, Steve Burgess is an insightful and witty guide to our modern obsession with being on the road.”“Tag along with journalist Steve Burgess, the perfectly funny and perceptive travel partner, to visit all the emotions modern travel evokes, from humbled wonder to globalizer’s guilt. His knack for weaving great yarns with sharp research makes the miles fly by. After this irresistible read helps you unpack the ethical quandaries of today’s tourism, you may be surprised where you land!”“Burgess’s deep, enduring affection for the pleasures of long-distance trips—for the abundance of assorted opportunities travel affords—eclipses his wariness and worries about it. Despite the environmental costs, Burgess is so persuasive in promoting the innate value of travel it’s easy to imagine him causing an uptick, à la ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’”“A defence of tourism, in spite of it all, from a passionate but conflicted traveller. Steve Burgess mixes brooding insights with biting humour—Paul Theroux meets David Sedaris—as he roams the world in search of adventure, meaning and love. A sparkling, provocative inquiry into the soul of the self-loathing tourist.”

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