Author Topic: The Value of Travel.  (Read 3967 times)

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Thipu1

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The Value of Travel.
« on: November 12, 2013, 11:19:30 AM »
A remark by an exBF of a poster on the 'Was I Snarky?' thread started me thinking.

The remark was 'I wanted you to know that you can travel places in books and don't actually have to go there'. 

Yes, reading about places is instructive and fun.  However isn't reading about a place you've visited a richer experience than reading about a place you've never seen?

You can remember  the sounds and smells of the place.  You can remember the tastes of the food and the feel of the pavement under your feet.  Sometimes,  you can even remember how far apart various landmarks are. 

Reading certainly can enrich travel but can it substitute for travel?

jaxsue

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 11:32:56 AM »
I love to travel. If I could afford it I'd do it more.

Reading can be an escape and an adventure. It saved my sanity when I was a kid.

But I agree - seeing a place in person creates tactile memories that reading alone cannot do.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 11:44:10 AM »
If a person cannot travel, for whatever reason, then I think reading can be a (poor) substitute.  But otherwise, nothing compares to being there.

I've done very little travelling but whenever I see one of the places I've been in the set of a TV program, I always get a little kick out of saying, even to myself, 'I've been there!'
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shadowfox79

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 11:49:07 AM »
Reading is great for places I can't go to ("John Carter of Mars" springs to mind) but it doesn't substitute for travelling.

I've read dozens of books set in New York, but nothing matched up to when we went there two years ago.

Winterlight

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 11:49:48 AM »
I've read about New York City all my life, but actually being there was totally different.
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BeagleMommy

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2013, 11:55:44 AM »
I would rather travel and see places I've read about versus only reading about them.  I believe the travelling I did when I was a kid was part of the reason I did so well in history.

My father's favorite words were "Let's go for a ride in the car".  We never knew where we'd end up.  Once, my brother and I fell asleep in the backseat and woke up in Niagra Falls.  We saw every Civil War sight along the East Coast.  When we were studying the American Revolution in school I was the only kid who could say I was at Fort Ticonderoga.

magicdomino

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2013, 11:58:06 AM »
I won't discount reading.  If you have issues of one sort or another that precludes travel, whether emotional or physical, reading is the next best thing. 

But there is something about standing in front of Famous Landmark that you just can't get from a photo.  I've felt it at the Great Wall of China, the Colusseum (sp?), and Uluru in Australia.  I've seen it in visitors at the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, places that I take for granted because I've lived here for years.  No matter how many movies and commercials you have seen it in, there's this feeling of "Woah, this really does exist!"

I think it is even more important for foreign travel.  Even countries that speak the same language are different in subtle ways.  And there is a certain sense of adventure when you are in a country that doesn't speak the same language ("Okay, pollo means chicken, so this must be some kind of chicken.  I think.")

My camping-loving nephew once commented that he wasn't interested in cities, because all cities are the same.  I pointed out that was like saying all forests are the same because they are all full of trees. 

Coralreef

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2013, 11:59:47 AM »
Travel gives you scale. 

Let me explain : I've seen the the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in many movies, TV shows and books.  You have no idea of the size of the thing until you're standing beside/under it.  It's HUGE!  Much bigger than I was expecting.

In Chambord, I loved hearing the hour bells ringing.  It was the new city hall chimes.  New to them was 200 years old.  To my Canadian mind, that was in the antique range. 

Travel gives you tastes.  The different spices you never heard of, the mystery meats that are so delicious, the strangely coloured tomatoes or carrot.  The wine or beer beside the soft drinks at the golden arches burger joint. 

Travel gives you memories.  The little kid who sees auburn hair for the first time.  The time you missed the train and had to be escorted to a hotel by the police late at night because the next departure would only be in the morning.  Hunting a word in the dictionnary so you can order some food and the waiter taking a turn with said dictionnary to describe the dish.  Being invited to dance at a street festival. 

Yes, books are good, but the real thing cannot be replaced, at least for me.

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gollymolly2

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2013, 12:03:18 PM »
People get different things out of travel. If you want to see monuments/landmarks, then reading is not going to do it justice (but seeing it on a big screen might get close). I like to meet people and see how they live - so reading about a person who lives elsewhere might actually be of more "use" to me than taking a cruise or one of those tours where you stick with the group and tour guide the whole time. I love travel and I hope anyone who wants to do it gets the chance to, but if someone can approximate the experience through books or movies or whatever, I don't think there's any harm in that.

magicdomino

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2013, 12:11:14 PM »
Travel gives you scale. 

Let me explain : I've seen the the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in many movies, TV shows and books.  You have no idea of the size of the thing until you're standing beside/under it.  It's HUGE!  Much bigger than I was expecting.


Conversely, the Great Wall was smaller than I expected.  Just the name Great Wall seems like a towering wall of stone.  The section where I was exploring was often no higher than a two story house.  On the other hand, it goes on and on off into the distance.  Also, I was not expecting sections of steps so steep that one was practically on one's hands and knees climbing them.   :)

cwm

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2013, 12:11:48 PM »
Not reading, but...I was lucky enough to go to Italy when I was in high school. Years later, I started playing the Assassin's Creed games. Boyfriend was watching me, and I just ignored all the missions and started exploring the city. I knew where I was going, went to the cathedral, and started climbing. He gave me a strange look, and I explained that I'd been there before, and started giving him a lesson about what I'd learned while I was there. It was a complete connection seeing it in the game and having been there in real life. It made the game that much richer for me because of it.

I read a book recently about the World's Fair in Chicago, and I was just up there a few years ago. I didn't know the area very well, and a lot of what they were talking about was set over a century ago, so it was hard to picture it exactly, but then when they mentioned that the main hall was still there and was now the Field Museum, it clicked. I had a good picture in my head of the architecture because I had been there and seen it. I re-read the parts about the problems building it and could see it more vividly in my head.

I'm with Coralreef, though. Walking into a tiny store, having a friend who wanted to buy a shirt where the shop owner had a question, and we had to get his daughter and me to run interference because we had a shared language, and spending five minutes going back and forth to check if the size and color was right...that experience can't really be conveyed properly with words.

I saw the leaning tower of Pisa. Then I took a tour of the Baptismal and wandered around the city. The cats on the roof, the laid back atmosphere, the utter lack of rush in anything by the people living there, the smell of the fresh pizza baking, or how the gelato melts just so, none of it can really be conveyed in a book or movie, you have to be there.

siamesecat2965

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2013, 12:23:15 PM »
Travel gives you scale. 

 Yes, books are good, but the real thing cannot be replaced, at least for me.

Yes! about 10 years ago I drove from NJ to AZ with 3 friends. We spend almost a week in Phoenix with my friend's mom and stepdad, and saw all kinds of cool stuff on the way out and back. But the most memorable was the Grand Canyon. You have NO idea how vast it is until you actually are there. I was floored. It was HUUUUUGE.

Sophia

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2013, 12:50:45 PM »
Travel can be wonderful and amazing, and sometimes it is hard to appreciate something until you See it. 
The Rose window for example on Notre Dame.  In the movies, pictures it is just a pretty stained glass window.  Like ones all over the place.  Maybe a little bigger.  In person, WOW!  I remember seeing a movie where the good guy (looked like he was built of rocks) smashed through the Rose window going after the bad guy.  It was disturbing even knowing it was fake. 

On the other side, there is something that can be snobbish about insisting that you don't really understand until you travel there.  I can't quite put my finger on why.  (I see the conflict with my first paragraph, but I stick by both)

Although, I think that doing both is best.  I know my appreciation of travel locations is increased exponentially when I know background stuff about the place. 

cicero

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2013, 01:11:08 PM »
I think that reading (as well as movies) can give you *a* perspective of certain places but it is not the same as actually being there. I think that reading about *really tall buildings* and seeing hundreds of tv and movie scenes cannot in any way prepare you for the first time you see NYC. seeing an amphitheater in Israel was amazing ... until i saw the one in ephesus, turkey. reading about the changing of the guards or the tower of london and being there - totally different feeling.

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rose red

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 01:18:02 PM »
I don't really have time or money to travel to all the places I want, so reading about it is great.  But I agree there's no substitute for actually being there.  I've read/seen many things about China's Forbidden City, but seeing it in person is an experience you can't get from pictures or TV.  You can actually sense the past.  All that history and you are standing right were it happened.  It's both thrilling and sad.