Slate’s travel pieces are too
few and few between. They only seem to pop up every few weeks or so, and yet, when they do, I always enjoy the stories.
What I like the most is that Slate let’s the writers breathe a bit. The dispatches usually take place over the course
of a week, and during that time the writers get to explore many aspects of a place, they meet different people and you
get to watch the transformation of the writer’s perspective from day to day. Compare that to a standard travel piece
which usually doesn’t have the kind of room to move.
Well, I just took a
read of the new series of dispatches out on by Elisabeth
Eaves, and it is one of the better pieces I have read in a long while on the Kiwi nation. Eaves heads to NZ with an
adventuresome friend Kristin who, Eaves writes, "has never met an outdoor solo sport she doesn’t like". Eaves
is no outdoorsy slouch, but she’s obviously got to push herself a bit given the fact she has chosen to land herself in
the outdoors capitol of the world. So the pair embark on a trip that includes hiking, sea-kayaking, on- and off-road cycling, windsurfing, and rock climbing. And then of course there’s the whole bungee
The stories that unfold here are filled with humor and pain…like real
physical pain, and each one delivers a dose of insight into what New Zealand is all about: the gorgeous vistas, the
gaping space, the often kooky people. And of course, in the end, it also helps that both Eaves and her friend are,
well, rather good looking. Give it a read.