I miss this sight. International travel is one of my greatest joys and being unable to do that for more than two years has been a big disappointment.
The awesome experience of walking into a new culture has been a big part of my life for many decades now. Egypt, Morocco, India and even parts of Europe are so different from my daily life–it’s amazing and interesting and wonderful to be part of a different culture, even as a traveler.
Maybe like me, you know people who do not travel. Maybe they’re set in their ways. Maybe they are afraid to fly. Maybe they can’t afford the travel they want to do.
Is it real or is it Memorex?
A while back I was talking with someone who is unwilling to fly and therefore, has cut themselves off from the awesome experiences that foreign travel affords. Smart enough to come up with seemingly logical rationales, they said, “Well, I read a lot and am exposed that way.”
Instantly, I understood that this was a phobia they’d prefer not to have. But since they had it, it was necessary to defend it. If you’re in my age group you’ll remember the TV ads for high quality Memorex audio recording tape that asked, “is it real or is it Memorex?” Meaning the recording was a close facsimile to the real thing.
In the case of world travel, there is nothing like the real experience.When I considered all they would miss in their life, I got very sad. I tried to make the point that the actual experience of the Taj Mahal or the Pyramids at Giza or even a cafe in Italy was not the same as reading about them or even seeing film. Because I, too, am an avid reader and streamer of travel content.
But of course, it is impossible to make a point like that when someone is so well-defended.
Explaining the concept of water to a fish
That conversation came to mind when I read this excerpt below. My attribution notes only say “Amsterdam book” and I can’t remember what I meant. But here is the quote:
“Society’s grip is powerful, especially for those who have never lived outside it. This is why traveling…can be so important.
Trying to understand the concept of freedom when one has never lived outside one’s community is like a fish trying to understand the concept of water. They are surrounded by it, so it’s impossible to see, to comprehend. It’s all they know.
When you live abroad you gain perspective. You’re distanced from a world once believed absolute. The grip of group-think loosens and the world is presented for what it is, a place of endless possibilities, where most limitations are self-imposed. “
I’m impatiently waiting for the pandemic to ease so I can again experience the world as the place of endless possibilities that it is.
First up: Norway’s fjords (our third attempt at this trip) Then, a return to Italy (maybe the seventh time?) and Sicily (third time) with friends. Also a return to Egypt with a hieroglyphics expert I follow, once she offers another trip. London at Christmas and a return to some European Christmas markets. Like I said, endless possibilities.
I might be on Maui right now. Returning with loved ones was the plan but as I write this I am five weeks out so who knows how this will pan out.
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