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July Pub Note: Here’s to the Travelers

Executive editor Mateo Hoke celebrates the human urge to venture out into the unknown in this month's Travel issue
July Travel Edition Pub Note

July Travel Edition Pub Note

Welcome aboard our summer travel issue. We’re happy to have you along for the ride as we celebrate the human urge to venture out into the unknown. This is a fun issue to tuck into your carry-on and read in the air.

Truthfully, I don’t enjoy getting on planes. But I love getting off of them to explore new places. See, I came into this world wanting to experience as much of it as I possibly can. There’s a fire burning in my belly that refuses to calm until I’ve learned how to say “howdy” in every dialect of every language, lit a candle in every temple, and stepped in every river. Twice. Until I’ve tasted every dish in every back alley and home kitchen in every city, small town, and village and hiked every mountain and breathed in every vista and contemplated every remaining glacier. Sounds like a compulsion, I know. But really it’s a hunger to learn. It’s why I became a reporter, to better understand this world and the people in it.

Travel, I’ve found, is a great teacher. Immersing ourselves in unfamiliar places often means being pushed out of our comfort zones, which is where important lessons can be learned. Ever been sweating and lost in a city in which you don’t speak or read the language, and still found your way? Traveling builds a unique kind of confidence.

But it’s important to remember that while travel can be a valuable learning experience, it’s also a great privilege. Traveling means different things to different people. Many have to wander to survive.

As we go to press, the humanitarian crisis at the SD-Mexico border is simmering after hitting a boiling point. In May, more than 1,000 people seeking asylum landed in various makeshift migrant camps in the desert outside Jacumba Hot Springs while waiting to be processed by US Border Patrol. Families with children in the cold desert at night, without blankets, food, or water, and no shelter in the heat of the day. Some of them had traveled for weeks.

On page 38, you’ll find our exclusive cover story about a newly revamped hotel in Jacumba Hot Springs, slated to reopen its doors this month after being acquired by a newly minted hospitality group of creative designers. It’s a cool, visually engaging piece we thought might inspire our readers to pack their bags.

But there’s much more to the story now. Because when the various people working to get the hotel open found themselves on the front lines of the border crisis, they stepped up to collect and deliver supplies to the people in the camps.

Jeff Osborne is part of the group behind the hotel project. “We just started organizing,” he told me. “Buying blankets, food, water. Our office became our crisis headquarters. Everyone in the local community was dropping off whatever we needed. We had over 3,000 individually packaged survival kits by the end.”

Talk about hospitality.

“I think we brought a lot of relief to people who were in some really awful conditions,” Osborne said.

It takes true courage to travel penniless across continents in search of safety or a better life, or simply because you don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s not a type of traveling I’ve ever had to do, and as someone who’s spent a lot of time on the road, I respect it tremendously.

So while celebrating our wanderlust in this issue, I also want to celebrate the travelers who were camped in the desert and the lessons we can learn from their determination. Travel, after all, is a great teacher, even if we’re not the ones on the move.

By Mateo Hoke

Mateo Hoke is San Diego Magazine’s executive editor. His books include Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, and Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation.

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