Why I Read Liz Hamil Scott: "When I travel, I seek joy."

My neighbor, friend, and (metaphorically speaking) fellow traveler Liz has outdone herself today at Travels with Pain. No holds barred, she takes on Paul Theroux's article, Why We Travel," with an athletic intensity. Humor, grit, and a clear-eyed position on her own embodiment as a person with a disability marks Liz Hamill Scott's writing as a voice-that-will-be-heard. Liz Hamill Scott - 2.jpg

And that's good for us as the global disability community! 

Even though, as she points out with tongue in cheek, her refusal to perform the socially sanctioned scripts of "travelwriterdom" carry their own hazards to professional health:

I'm now going to admit something scandalous: I hate Paul Theroux. Not the man himself-I've never met him; he might be lovely in person. I hate Paul Theroux's writing. Yes, that pretty much revokes my membership to all travel writing guilds. Theroux is the golden boy of post-20th century travel writing.

Still, I wager that Liz's skills as a writer win out in the end - guild or no guild behind her. 

After a memorable one-line directive on animal husbandry, Paul, and his camel she makes the Inclusive Tourism marketing point with imagery that gives the raw statistics a human face:

 I bet it's never once occurred to Paul Theroux that there are, quite literally tens of millions of travelers out there who are in delicate health, as he so snarkily puts it. I certainly am. Physically weak, in constant pain, and prone to unpleasant bacterial infections in personal places, I don't need to travel to Somalia or Tibet to overcome adversity. I overcome adversity every time I travel to the supermarket around the corner.

My fiancé suggested that we might bottle up some tap water from Mexico City and let Theroux drink it on a nonstop plane trip from Mexico to Taiwan. He would get to overcome a whole bunch of travel adversity! His trip would look, smell, and feel remarkably like that which my friend Andrew, who suffers from severe Crohn's Disease, gets to experience every single day of his life.

She continues, "As a travel writer, I turn common difficulties into '10 tips' articles, while the weirder ordeals evolve into humor essays. "

With a kind reference to my recent note on Theroux's same article (and a reference to "our mutual adoration of polysyllabic verbiage") Liz leads us, once again, ever more deeply into the lived experience of invisible disabilities, keen perceptions, and travels with pain. 

Don't deny yourself the fun of reading her blog, Travels with Pain.

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