Review from Xerography Debt #37:
This zine is incredibly compelling and thought-provoking. No Place for a Vacation is a perfect blend of personal writing, travel experiences, and political/social exploration. It offered more questions than answers and puts faces on headlines.
It opens with Andru dealing with a breakup and deciding to go on a Birthright trip. Those below a certain age and of Jewish heritage, no matter how tenuous, can travel to Israel for free as part of a government sponsored program. For the first part of Andru’s trip he is surrounded by other 20-somethings on a carefully orchestrated and sanitized version of the Middle East. And then the veils fall and he begins to see behind the facades as he explores Israel on his own and visits Palestine and Egypt. Violence and conflict are inculcated on both sides and Andru experiences the checkpoints, military presence, and a protest broken up with percussion grenades and tear gas. Both parts of the trip seem disorienting and both offer up a sense of bearing witness. The first part of the trip shows the propaganda machine and the second the conflicts as seen from both sides. He has friends in the area so his experiences are not that of an average tourist.
I dog-eared my copy indicating quotes I liked, but for the sake of brevity I’ll just include this one: “On occasion, traveling can serve as a reminder of the cost of most things, especially the price everyone must pay to achieve whatever quality of life they hope to maintain. It’s easy enough to glorify travel, but it’s important to acknowledge that it can sometimes be a convoluted method of buying our way out of bad situations, situations that are seldom as bad as the everyday circumstances of many of the people who live in the places we travel to must deal with for lack of having the option of affording a better reality. Maybe the truth is that we pay for our comfort wherever we are, our economic positions determining how easy it is for us to escape the pressures of wherever we happen to be.”
Extremely well-considered and well-written. Highly recommended.