In 1923, Kilimanjaro was the object.

December 16, 2006

In 1923, Kilimanjaro was the object. I had seven pairs of pants and my colleague, Major Sir Denton Cook, had three. Egad! Boots laced, tin cups fastened, we stood at base camp preparing to ascend the craggy beast. Read the rest of this entry »

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That Stupid SkyMall Catalogue

December 16, 2006

by Wiley Davis

Present in almost every seatback pocket on every American-owned airliner is a printed representation of consumerism run amok. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m an advocate of disposable incomes, and even hope to have one myself some day, and I can’t fault anyone for spending that income, but the SkyMall catalogue has crossed the line. Let’s take a look:

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The Paradox of Authenticity

November 28, 2006

I would abandon myself altogether to the sole quest of her, like people who set out on a journey to see with their own eyes some city that they have always longed to visit, and imagine that they can taste in reality what has charmed their fancy.1

When we talk of tourism and authenticity, we must begin with several questions that demand answers: What is authenticity? Why do we want it? How do we decide what is authentic? It would seem that the first question is the one to begin with. But a clear understanding of what authenticity is cannot be had without first understanding why we want such a thing. In the single sentence above, Proust has set up the conditions of our longing for authenticity: the gap between our expectations and reality. I will argue that the primary objective of tourism is to eliminate such a gap, and that through its success in doing so, it has created a vacuum of meaning which has been filled by the concept of authenticity. But what is authenticity? Again, we can look to Proust for a hint.

I longed for nothing more than to behold a storm at sea, less as a mighty spectacle than as a momentary revelation of the true life of nature; or rather there were for me no mighty spectacles save those which I knew to be not artificially composed for my entertainment, but necessary and unalterable.2

Here Proust gives us his concept of the authentic as something that is not composed, but necessary and unalterable. Authenticity, then, is primarily a measure of a thing’s resistance to manipulation. It is a measurement that is only necessary in an environment that has obviously been manipulated in some way. This is the paradox of authenticity; the success of tourism has created an environment in which the gap between expectation and reality has been eliminated. The result is increased demand for proof of necessity. That proof is authenticity. In environments where the demand for authenticity is highest, the conditions for providing it are most absent. The only way to eliminate the paradox is to look at authenticity as a relatively modern concept and not as a necessary and universal property. Read the rest of this entry »


River Wisdom

April 21, 2006

by Neil Zawicki

Sailing is a thing to be done for the thing itself. And if any two sailors get together and start talking in terms of “I’ve been here,” and “I’ve been there,” you can be sure that before long – and allowing there is an available boat – the pair will find themselves clipping along famously, sails full, hull leaning smartly to leeward.

Generally, such last-minute trips are cooked up in bars, and this one was no exception. Read the rest of this entry »


Finding a Backdoor: Sneaking into the most heavily guarded national park

April 14, 2006

by Wiley Davis

It has long been my philosophy that if you’re going to do something, you should do it right. So for my first visit to the Grand Canyon, I decided to do things a little differently. No way was I going to go to the South Rim, which everyone knows is infested with picture-snapping, thimble-buying tourists! In fact, I decided that due to principles, I wasn’t even going to purchase a permit. No self-respecting person is going to pay hard-earned cash to some Ranger Rick type, for use of his own land…that’s ludicrous! So to avoid the fees, and the masses, I needed a backdoor. A quick check of the map revealed a chunk of user-friendly BLM land that butted up against a five-mile long side canyon that provided direct access to the Grand Canyon itself! An hour later, the plan was set into motion. Read the rest of this entry »


Dispatch: Caving in NorCal

April 14, 2006

by Wiley Davis

"Do you want to go first?" This is what he asked me."Sure. Why not." I said. I didn't want to go first. "It's just a little hole." I threw the coil of rope into the horizontal tube and followed it with my feet. The tube was so small that my size twelve feet were unable to point upright and had to be turned sideways to fit. Read the rest of this entry »


Dispatch: Fur Rondy, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

April 14, 2006

by Neil Zawicki

It's a scene where everyone goes a little batty for two weekends. I don't think there is a way to describe in writing what the white winter does to the head, but let us pause and reflect on Admiral Byrd, who elected to be locked in an underground shelter in Antarctica equipped with only a radio, some paper, and some canned peaches. Eventually — he snapped — begging to be rescued. The expedition was written off and kindly swept under the carpet to retain his national hero status. But why he cracked, no one knows. Read the rest of this entry »


Gaston Dilmoore: I Can’t Spell Bisqits

April 14, 2006

In 1923, Kilimanjaro was the object. I had seven pairs of pants and my colleague, Major Sir Denton Cook, had three. Egad! Boots laced, tin cups fastened, we stood at base camp preparing to ascend the craggy beast. Read the rest of this entry »


Dispatch: Chugach (chew-gatch)

April 14, 2006

by Aaron Selbig

The Anchorage International Airport has recently been re-named after Ted Stevens, our beloved senior Senator who's been bringin' home the bacon since about 1803. It's under heavy construction. As I guide my rusty Oldsmobile through a maze of toppled pylons and half-erected signposts, I reflect on Ted's career and the beautiful woman I've just sent off to Fairbanks. Read the rest of this entry »


Three Americans illegally enter the United States from Mexico

April 14, 2006

Mexico Border Crossingby Wiley Davis, Neil Zawicki, and R.D. Phares

The idea for this article started with a question. What would it be like to illegally enter the United States from Mexico? We had all read the stories about increased Border Patrol activities, including their use of high-tech surveillance equipment developed for the U.S. military. It was mostly a challenge, an adventure, a jaunt. Rather like playing hide and seek when you were a kid, only this time the stakes would be higher. What began initially as an idea for a stunt over a few beers quickly evolved into the article you are about to read. Jaunt Magazine is about travel, adventure, culture, and exploration. What better way to combine these elements than to use a daring illegal border crossing as a glue that ties together a story about an issue that has tempers flaring, politicians in a reactionary uproar, and human beings given the title "Illegal Alien". So on November 5, three of us, Neil, Ron, and myself drove to Douglas, Arizona with the intent to enter the United States Illegally. Read the rest of this entry »