Travel on the pe­riph­ery

Canadian Geographic - - DISPATCH - —Harry Wil­son

“What are we DO­ING out here?” The woman who is now my wife said this to me after we’d been sit­ting on a rock at Neist Point, the west­ern­most tip of the Isle of Skye, for the bet­ter part of 30 min­utes, staring out at the Lit­tle Minch, part of the strait that sep­a­rates Scot­land’s In­ner He­brides from the Outer He­brides. What were we do­ing out there? I was try­ing to tamp down my nerves, hav­ing brought them to a gut-wrench­ing boil over my im­mi­nent pro­posal of mar­riage, and my soon-to-be fi­ancée was be­ing drained of ev­ery last ounce of her pa­tience. I sup­pose I could have pro­posed some­where that was equally beau­ti­ful yet more urban — Rome’s Span­ish Steps, say — but there was some­thing al­lur­ing about the moment hap­pen­ing on the pe­riph­ery of a place. I thought about that idea a lot while work­ing on this is­sue be­cause I re­al­ized that, by co­in­ci­dence, I’d as­signed writ­ers to des­ti­na­tions that are, like Skye, on the pe­riph­ery and no less en­tic­ing. Take Kate Harris’s story about sail-in spring ski tour­ing in Fin­n­mark and Troms, Nor­way’s north­ern­most coun­ties, both of which are en­tirely above the Arc­tic Cir­cle. Or Dee Hon’s gus­ta­tory ex­plo­ration of the Mag­dalen Is­lands, which, as he ex­plains, “can feel like the edge of the world — as re­mote as they must have been in the 18th and 19th cen­turies, when peo­ple com­monly ar­rived by ship­wreck and never found a way to leave.” Or Ed O’lough­lin’s jour­ney along the bor­der that sep­a­rates the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land ( ABOVE, at Tem­ple­town Beach in County Louth) from North­ern Ire­land, two en­ti­ties that could be fac­ing a new chap­ter in a story of age-old division, this time in the form of Brexit. So by all means, go ahead and be a flâneur in Paris or sip scotch in the Park Hy­att Tokyo’s New York Bar à la Bill Mur­ray in Lost in Trans­la­tion. But seek travel experience­s on the pe­riph­ery, too — more of­ten than not, they’re just as in­cred­i­ble.

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