Louis C.K. was on Conan last year and his visit was much shared on Facebook and Twitter because he made the very good point that bitching about air travel is kind of stupid, considering that it used to take for fucking EVER to get anywhere. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that we should all be sitting there in our seats not complaining about how small they are, and how little leg room we have, but marveling over the miracle of flight. Looking at these old maps of travel times, ranging from 1800 to 1930, I am rather inclined to agree with him. OK, yes, there’s the whole thing where fast travel burns fossil fuels that will kill us all, but consider the alternative!
What’s really amazing is how fast stuff changes. By 1857, you could get between most points on the East Coast in two days, whereas just 60 years earlier some of those journeys were 10 times as long. (Most of this is attributable to trains, because trains are awesome.) Also, note how much time was spend going around mountain ranges. So if the “miracle of flight” thing isn’t wowing you, try, “Wow. I am pretty much moving in a straight line.”
How Fast Could You Travel Across the USA in the 1800s? (Check Out These Old Maps), Treehugger.
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