Author Topic: The Value of Travel.  (Read 4155 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2013, 01:54:53 PM »
I love to travel. I love reading about new places or ones I've visited. I especially love to visit a place that was the setting of a favorite book.  Being there and reading about it is not the same.

But the thread title of the "Value of Travel" always get's me thinking. I like to think that traveling to new places broaden's my experiences, provides me better insight into other cultures,  and makes me more open minded and tolerant.

But then I think of people I've known who's never traveled more than a few 100 miles from their original home place because they either lacked the desire or the ability. And many of these people are very wise, very tolerant, and very respectful of other cultures.

So I've decided there are people like me who need the ability to travel to improve upon myself and to make me grow while others are already at the level I strive to all on their own.

But I will say I get sad when I hear of people who've traveled to new places but either went from one tourist spot to another tourist spot full of tourists or who go to a new country and stay at a resort primarily run by people of their native culture. But then I have to remember I'm pushing my idea of "valuable travel" upon them and I try to not judge.

Tea Drinker

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2013, 02:13:59 PM »
I like travel, and some of the things I get out of traveling aren't likely to be in books. Sure, I could have gotten read excellent descriptions of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower and the sculptures at the Rodin Museum, but they wouldn't be my memories, and they wouldn't have the bits that are less standard tourist stuff, like going out to a suburb to visit a specific museum, then walking through a Christmas market, buying lunch at a random deli, and discovering that I do in fact like mayonnaise when it's fresh rather than from a jar. Or the fumbling conversation with a stranger at a restaurant the first night I was in Paris, with much help from my phrasebook, and having the special dessert of the day that I didn't know to ask for, rather than one of the things on the menu. Or the discovery of a brand of lip gloss that I am still using fifteen years later, in a transaction that was almost entirely in sign language, because when I greeted the shopkeeper--"Bonjour, madame, parlez-vous anglais?"--it turned out she didn't speak English. But she knew her stock, and was happy to sell me what I needed.

Then I got back to the U.S., and had numerous conversations in which someone (usually someone who had never been there) said something along the lines of, how nice that I got to see those things, it's just too bad that the locals are rude.  They were somewhere between surprised and skeptical when I said that everyone in Paris had been polite, including the shopkeepers with whom the conversations were reduced to nouns or gestures. They'd mostly read in books or been told by friends that Parisians are rude; Parisians think tourists are rude for starting a conversation with a French person, in France, in English without first asking whether they speak the language.

(That's separate from the fact that if I didn't travel, I would never have met my girlfriend--nine years ago, we were visiting the same people in Montreal for New Year's, and fell for each other. But that sort of serendipity is much less common than finding interesting streets, with quiet little cafes where locals get their lunch, the sort of thing you can find by exploring Paris or London or Boston on foot and by metro and bus.)
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magicdomino

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2013, 04:29:47 PM »

But I will say I get sad when I hear of people who've traveled to new places but either went from one tourist spot to another tourist spot full of tourists or who go to a new country and stay at a resort primarily run by people of their native culture. But then I have to remember I'm pushing my idea of "valuable travel" upon them and I try to not judge.

There can be a kind of snobbery among travellers.  Both backpackers hiking third world countries, and people jetting to furnished apartments in major world cities may look down on mere tourists, who in turn may turn up their noses at those who prefer sipping mai tais at a resort.  Frommer's forums used to be full of people who were quite offended if someone called them a tourist.

Me, I'm proud to be a tourist.  But I like mai tais, too.  :)

Arila

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2013, 05:08:23 PM »
Since the details which are noticed/enjoyed are completely and utterly unique to every individual, I do not think that someone else's description could ever substitute.

Mikayla

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2013, 05:31:24 PM »
I love to travel. I love reading about new places or ones I've visited. I especially love to visit a place that was the setting of a favorite book.  Being there and reading about it is not the same.


I pretty much agree it's not the same, but I do have one exception to that, and it's Gettysburg.  My imaginings were actually pretty close to what I saw, but I'm sort of a Civil War (and WWII) buff, so it was based on many books and articles.   

The day we went there, it was really foggy, which apparently is pretty common there.  I felt like I was time traveling, but it was exactly what I had pictured.  (If you ever saw the movie Remember the Titans, when the team had their "come together" meeting at Gettysburg, it was a lot like that).

Other ventures weren't as good, though, particularly in Greece.  I'd read a lot about the "interior" cities, especially in the chaos after WWII, and they really can't be accurately portrayed.  It's just incredibly unique.

BatCity

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2013, 06:22:55 PM »
My attitude toward travel is something that's hard to put into words, especially without sounding like a travel snob myself.

I've been incredibly lucky to be able to travel quite a lot in my lifetime. In addition to what everyone has added here...the sounds, the smells, the scale of things...is a sense of perspective of the world that you just can't get when you stay home.

For me, it's that sense I get when I'm in a faraway place and I see entire civilizations, entire lifetimes, being lived out in a place I've never been before. It was the feeling I got when I visited a city in China that has a population higher than Los Angeles, and until I went there, I never even knew it existed. And that was only one city among thousands, among the scores of countries that I may never have the chance to visit. It just boggles the mind. 

It reminds me of why some people don't like to travel: because for them, the very idea that they, their town, their city, their entire lives are so insignificant that all these other people in the world don't even know they exist, is enough to make you never want to leave home.  But I think it's beautiful.

Morticia

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2013, 06:41:03 PM »
I like to think that my nationality is "tourist."
Now our mom says she's changed her mind about the devil's brood, they may be evil so she thinks, but at least they're never rude...
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Nikko-chan

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2013, 06:47:40 PM »
Thipu I just want to say: you have inspired me to look at cruises online. When I get a job, I think I will save up so mom and I can go on one!

mime

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2013, 07:00:32 PM »
I didn't know I would have such a desire to travel until after I was married... to a DH who doesn't want to travel. Ever. Sadly, travel is rare for me.

We took a trip to Italy, though, along with MIL and FIL, where I was so looking forward to seeing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I've seen a very impressive interactive 'experience' online, but not the same as standing there! I was in awe while in Pompeii that I was standing somewhere with remnants of history still *there* to be seen. I remember a temple to Minerva in Rome; we heard it was 2000 years old. Living in the US, there are no 2000-year-old man made structures. Not even close! In Italy, my FIL and I both made a beeline to that temple, just so we could touch one of its columns. In a smaller town, we ordered the most amazing hot chocolate I've ever had. My ILs are Catholic, and we attended mass many times with so many different people in amazing cathedrals and chapels. I liked the shared experience with people from all over the world when we all greeted each other during the 'sign of peace'. (I think that's what it's called)

In my own country: I've seen the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier at Arlington Cemetery on television. It is a much different experience while there, sitting still and quiet alongside 100 others as the guards do their ritual. I've seen tears shed at the Vietnam wall-- but not so many at a picture of the Vietnam wall.

Much closer to home: while this isn't a vacation or tourist attraction type of thing, I've also stood inside a solitary confinement cell at a maximum security prison. Creepy. I didn't want them to shut the door! To walk/stand/be where someone else has gone before comes with feelings you don't get from a book.

Someday I hope to go to Norway. I really really want to see the Viking ship museum.

Nikko-chan

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2013, 07:05:52 PM »
I want to go to Ireland... but I can't decide whether to save up for a cruise to Ireland or just you know, save up for an airplane trip and go for a week or so, just to Ireland. I also haven't decided whether I am going to a) go alone, b) take my mom (i don't think she would do either a plane or a cruise, now that i am thinking about it) or c) take my sister... hmmm... any travel tips for those of you that have traveled?

katycoo

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2013, 07:12:41 PM »
Travel is uniquely personalised.

When you read about an experience in a book, every reader has the same experience.  But when you travel to a place, you will have an experience than has never and will never be the same as any other persons.

iridaceae

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2013, 07:19:37 PM »
Travel and interests mean different things to different people. I'd never go back to Florence, for example - art museums don't interest me- but I'd love to go back to South Korea. To me walking outside at night and seeing wild Panamanian night monkeys staring down at us is so much more satisfying than looking at tapestries in the Vatican Museum.

People dissing tourist attractions annoy me. The Grand Canyon, Limahuli Garden on Kauai ,  the Colosseum in Rome,  Burg Eltz in Germany,  the Panama Canal and Changdeok Palace in Seoul are all worth seeing. They are all tourist attractions.

But then I also get annoyed with people who put down tour groups. For some people they prefer it. For others it's a non-scary way to visit a foreign country. Some places - like the DMZ- can only be visited as part of a tour. And for some they don't want to but can't rent a car to visit places like the US for medical reasons.

Thipu1

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2013, 08:03:52 PM »
One of the beautiful things about actual travel are the things you don't expect. 

Mr. Thipu is a bit of a foodie and, on our last visit to Rome we had lunch at a little place because he had heard of a wonderful dish served there. 

Most of the restaurant was filled by a long table seating about 15 people.  The way we were seated I was looking straight into the middle of their party.  It soon became clear that this was probably 'Papa's' birthday because all the men at the party looked like younger versions of the man seated at the head. 

The food was delicious but being a witness to a happy family party like that made the tiramisu taste even sweeter. 

Times like that are why we love travel so much. 


Library Dragon

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2013, 08:55:26 PM »
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.

This, this, this.

Actually walking up a hill is much different than reading about it.  Reading about the pioneers travelling the stark landscape of Death Valley doesn't give a complete idea of miles and miles of desert. 

I like to read fiction set in areas I will be traveling through, but it cannot replace physically being there.

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Tea Drinker

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Re: The Value of Travel.
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2013, 09:03:19 PM »
I want to go to Ireland... but I can't decide whether to save up for a cruise to Ireland or just you know, save up for an airplane trip and go for a week or so, just to Ireland. I also haven't decided whether I am going to a) go alone, b) take my mom (i don't think she would do either a plane or a cruise, now that i am thinking about it) or c) take my sister... hmmm... any travel tips for those of you that have traveled?

Just a few very generic tips (I've never been to Ireland, so this will have to be generic). First, do a bit of research: think about what you want to see in Ireland, and then how to fit things together. For example, will you need to make hotel reservations ahead of time, or would it work to drive around and see where you found yourself? (If you know you'd be uncomfortable without plans, that answers itself, but even the most carefree traveler doesn't want to show up at the wrong time and discover every hotel within two hours' travel is full.) Given the choice, would you rather spend more time in a few places, or try to see as much of the country as possible in a week? Check on necessary travel documents--you'll need a passport, but what else depends on where you're visiting from. Double-check with your doctor to make sure you don't need any vaccines for the trip, and if you take any prescription drugs make sure you have enough. If you regularly take any over-the-counter drugs, check on those as well--something that's over-the-counter in one country might be prescription-only in another.

If you're considering traveling with someone, are your schedules generally compatible? Your sister and mother may be the nicest people in the world, but if they both like to get up at six a.m. and you want to sleep till noon, or vice versa, you might not be good traveling companions.

Edited to add: You don't need to prove anything. If you turn out to have less tolerance for novelty than you thought, there's no rule against spending an evening in your room reading a familiar book, or ordering a coke with dinner in a foreign country. When I went to Paris, I bought an airfare-and-hotel package that came with breakfast in the hotel, a boat trip on the Seine (which was fun), and optional extra-charge escorted outings to places like Versailles. The company had put several people into the same hotel. The second or third morning I was there, I overheard some of the others saying that having to do everything in French was difficult and frustrating, and deciding to take the English-language guided tours. That was not a failure: it was a reasonable on-the-fly change of plans that helped them enjoy Paris.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 09:11:53 PM by Tea Drinker »
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