Sunday, August 30, 2009
I have always wondered why people like to travel. What is the lure that sends people on adventures? What do they hope to find when they get there? People? Culture? History? Souvenir shot glass from each country?
There are bloggers from all over the world and some of them take the most amazing photos. I am mesmerized by one site called Random Shots. I stare and stare at the images...and I'm not sure why. I try to imagine living there....and I can't do it. Is that what travel will do? A looking glass experience. What is it like to live in a city that is over 2000 years old? Do they even see it?
P. J. O'Rourke in "Holidays in Hell" writes about places suffering "....insurrection, stupidities, political crises, civil disturbances and other human folly...because it's fun. Like most people who don't own Bermuda shorts, I'm bored by ordinary travel. See the Beautiful Grand Canyon. Okay, I see it. Okay, it's beautiful. Now what? And I have no use for vacation paradises. .....Nor do attractions attract me. If I had a chance to visit another planet, I wouldn't want to go to Six Flags over Mars or ride through the artificial ammonia lake in a silicone-bottomed boat at Venusian Cypress Gardens. I'd want to see the planet's principal features--what makes it tick. Well, the planet I've got a chance to visit is Earth, and Earth's principal features are chaos and war. I think I'd be a fool to spend years here and never have a look."
Is travel good for paradigm puncturing? Culture clash awareness? This video absolutely gives me the heeby jeebies. Is this what it's like to go through the looking glass and land in another country?
Think of all the assumptions going on this video. (And you know what they say about assuming. ) First, people push and shove their way in to make sure they get on the train and then the people who work there finish shoving them in the way I used to shove myself in jeans when I was 23. Lying down, jumping up and down, and sucking in my gut. I used to think I was fat because I was shoving myself into jeans that were a size 3. Gack. What I wouldn't give to be double that size now. Second, is there not another train coming? Are there so many people using the train that EVERY train is that packed. My personal body bubble is cringing just thinking about this and I can't help thinking how naive that is.
I haven't even talked about history. Which is probably a good thing. One thing on my bucket list is to learn some more history. Not that it is always an exact science but it does bring some context. George Washington chopped down the cherry tree, right? History changes....which used to bug the crap out of me as a kid. Teachers would get their panties in a bunch as if history was like the multiplication tables, immutable and unchangeable.
I have always imagined traveling in outer space but after seeing District 9, I'm beginning to think that that may not be a good idea. Instead of Captain Picard on the USS Enterprise, I might end up in a refugee camp on a planet in a galaxy far, far away.
So why do you travel?
Posted by Happy Hour...Somewhere at 6:11 PM