Hittin’ The High Seas On The “Cruise Trek” — Rolf Style

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


In a show of why he’s one of the bets in the biz right, Rolf Potts is chronicling his recent “Star Trek”-themed Caribbean cruise in a five-part series over at World Hum this week.

And why, might you ask, would a travel writer extraordinaire waste his time partaking on one of the most hated forms of “travel” that exists, and do so amongst a tribe of die-hard sci-fi fans? Perhaps to “explor[e] imaginative landscapes in the context of physical landscapes . . . [and] how the travel sensibilities of Trekkies can hold a mirror up to American ideals, just as the travel sensibilities of Herodotus held a mirror up to Greek ideals.”

Or, in one of the great justifications any traveler has for lighting out to somewhere new and unknown to experience what surely few others have, in his own words: “I was dying to know what it’s like to experience a sea voyage to Bermuda when your travel companions would rather be making a space voyage to Romulus.”

Some commenters to his piece have taken offense to the whole cruise-travel concept, arguing that it “doesn’t involve any real journey or exploration.” I think they’re missing the point here. As most travelers know, it’s not the destination but the journey. What better way to look back on a lifetime of travel and exploration than to view it through the prism of a mundane, prosaic cruise? Yes, David Foster Wallace did it in his own way, and Rolf is doing it his.

Sure there are plenty of articles and ideas out there about the next off-the-beaten-path destination, but there exists the danger of losing that thrill of discovering those places and cultures. Perhaps a cruise is needed every once in a while to remind us all of that.

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