Take your travel advice and stick it in your ear

Back when I was a bit more of a nervous flyer, I went on a short trip to San Francisco with one of those granola, free-love, Burning-Man-Going types who had to go back for something and left me his baggage to watch in line at the airport.

Our turn came up, and I checked his bag with mine. When he returned, he was *furious* and condescending.

“Don’t EVER check bags. It’s SUCH A WASTE of time. And they lose it half the time.”

I was mortified, and I crept along, shamefaced.

What I should have said: Up yours. You’re the disorganized git that inconvenienced all of us and imposed on me to watch your stupid baggage in the first place.

To this day, I see the “don’t check your luggage” advice all over the web by supposed travel gurus, and you know what: I think that’s nonsense.

First off, I don’t travel with airlines that charge for handling bags.

Second, I hate schlemping bags. I hate taking the bag into the bathroom. I hate trying to put it somewhere if I need to stop for dinner at Chili’s. I hate trying to hoist it over my head.

Certainly, I’ve had luggage go missing. But it’s usually found the next day, delivered to your door.

So here’s my travel advice, from somebody who is a seasoned traveler not because she had parents with the coin to send her off on European jaunts since high school, but from a person who has spent too much of her life on crap airplanes going on trips she doesn’t want to go on in order to attend meetings that she doesn’t want to go to:

When you are traveling, do whatever makes you the most comfortable, if you can possibly afford to do it.

If you prefer to keep your luggage with you and clutter up walkways, delay takeoff, and drag it around because it saves you a few minutes at either end, go for it.

If you are like me, and prefer to check, by all means.

The Tea Party and American Foreign Policy in this issue of Foreign Affairs

Walter Russell Mead of Bard College has a nice essay up at Foreign Affairs, which unfortunately requires paid access. You won’t be disappointed to pop for the pdf, though. It’s this kind of analytical and exploratory discussion of the Tea Party that helps out quite a bit in translating what the differences are between this group and standard-issue Pat Buchanan types:

The Tea Party and American Foreign Policy

The comments are interesting, too, particularly the one up front, from a guy named Robert R: If indeed total war and unconditional surrender are Jacksonian principles, they served the United States well in World War II.

The dangers of history, right?–where we think we know what happened, and we take constructed images of the past and indulge in drawing conclusions from a past that never was what we now conclude it was. (ie, the US didn’t fight WWII alone; there were devastating, long-term consequences of working with the Soviets, etc. No lessons from history strike me as particularly simple.)