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Returning to the States after two years in Poland – during which I had married, taught English, and witnessed the rise of Solidarity and the imposition of martial law – I suggested to my wife that we live in Philadelphia.

I had always liked the city, not least because I owed my existence to it. Somewhere in its folds in 1941, my father, a student at Penn Law School, met my mother, a nurse at the Children’s Hospital. As parents, upriver in New Jersey, they introduced my brothers and me to the zoo, the Franklin Institute, Connie Mack Stadium, Elfreth’s Alley. Years later, as a student at Villanova, I took the Paoli Local in to watch Big Five basketball at the Palestra and, one memorable evening, strippers at the Trocadero Theater. In my junior year I bought my first pair of round tortoiseshell glasses – the same style I wear today – at Limeburner Opticians on Chestnut Street. More… “Out of Philadelphia”

Thomas Swick is the author of three books, the most recent being The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them. His work has appeared in numerous national magazines and literary quarterlies, and in six editions of The Best American Travel Writing.

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“Go to a place, report on its culture, foibles, distractions, and bring it back to entertain your readers…it’s not enough just to say what happened — you have to make people understand what it felt like to be there when it happened.” This seems like a pretty good description of travel writing, right? It wouldn’t seem out of place as advice given by an editor to a first-time travel writer. But actually, this quote is by a video game journalist named Kieron Gillen, taken from a manifesto he wrote not too long ago on what he calls “The New Games Journalism” (after Tom Wolfe’s famous term “The New Journalism”). In his manifesto, Gillen exhorts his video game colleagues to become “Travel Journalists to Imaginary Places.”