Travel is an essential element of a rewarding life. When I was seventeen, I went to Paris on a school trip, and it changed me forever. Because it was the dark ages, the entire French class travelled with only two chaperones--the French teacher and his delightful wife. Although we had many planned events, we were allowed to wander the city at various times during the day, and I, only child that I am, did so early in the mornings and found all sorts of lovely things.
The group of us was from a very small rural community in Eastern Ontario in Canada, so needless to say I was transfixed by absolutely everything. I was incredibly intimidated by the chic women, and loved watching the beautifully dressed children playing in the Tulleries. I watched thin young people in black turtlenecks walking purposefully towards the Sorbonne, arguing with one another along the way. I had no idea anyone lived like this.
One of my favorite blogs is the Sartorialist, a link to which you can find on the right sidebar. A wonderful photographer takes pictures of people who dress with deeply personal style (yet are not fashion models, at least not often) and live in New York, Paris, Milan and Sydney. Not as delicious as watching people from the window of a SoHo bistro, but fun when you are stuck in the flyover.
Other sources I enjoy are more practical. From the blog the Frugal Traveller on the NY Times website, I found www.dealbase.com, which is great for finding deals in the United States, and the blogger at The Art of Non-Conformity (see sidebar also) has made it a goal to travel the world--not just the first world, but all of it--before he is thirty, and has some great ideas about doing it on the cheap.