Friday, February 3, 2012

The meaning of travel

I wrote this about a month ago and never got around to posting it because a large chunk of it was deleted accidentally and I haven't been able to really re-write it as I'd like to, but I really enjoyed writing it and the theme it has, so here goes:

Living in the United States means one thing for  travel - the virtual necessity of airplanes. But this is only because we have been programmed to feel that if they don't speak a different language, have radically different customs, then they are not worth traveling to.
I've come to think quite a bit recently about what it means to travel. I have been very preoccupied recently with getting abroad to teach English. Part of my motivation for this was certainly the excellent money that can be made abroad teaching versus domestic teaching salaries, but in a recent drive of approximately 1700 miles from New Orleans, LA, to southern Maine, I have realized that there is so much traveling to do right here in the good ol' US of A.
In three days of crazy rush to make it home for my mother's birthday, I drove right past so many things I would have loved to have had the time to stop and explore, experience, photograph. This country is beautiful. And more than I ever realized (though I knew it, factually), incredibly varied. Even better than an EU passport or a Schengen Visa, I don't even need to speak to a boarder guard to change states here.
Much of the mystique is taken away by the fact that these places cannot, in fact, be labelled "foreign," the locals all speak English, though the accent may be different; The blessing of a lack of border crossing works against us to make us feel we are not traveling. But think about it. The food is different. The sites are certainly different. Many of the laws may change. A different state - or especially region - is different (I know, right??).
Don't get me wrong, I'm moving to asia in a month and a half: I fully comprehend the dazzle involved in something completely foreign. I do not speak Korean, I don't know much about Korean food, I'm doing my best to learn about the culture, and I'm terrified. And I love it.
For many (most?) United Statesians who consider themselves world travelers, the thought of being stranded stateside for an extended period of time means a suspension of travel, but we are blessed with most of a continent to explore, with only a bus/train/whatever ticket. No passport required. When you're feeling blue and travel-deprived, take a drive, hop on a bus, there's all kinds of great stuff to be seen right down the highway.

No comments:

Post a Comment