Why would anyone want to be born, live, go to school, marry a local, work and die in the same town when the world is such a big place?
It doesn’t make sense to me.
The one thing I was going to say on this page was that travelling opens the mind. It places the traveller in a position where he is immersed in another culture, forcing him to adapt, open his mind and over come any cultural differences to allow him to blend in.
Does it bollox.
What it actually does is make the traveller more aware of his own culture, his own country and his own ways.
He becomes closed to the ways of others because he sees the differences and instantly doesn’t like them.
Some clarification is needed here as I was “called” on this point by a friend.
She wrote: Things really are black or white in your world. I agree that the differences in cultures are always the most obvious, we always notice the different before we see what is the same, that’s why we have that lovely phrase “Culture Shock”. But that is the drawback to “just passing through”, something which backpackers of the world will never get. You have to live long enough in one place to realise that whether we kneel facing east or dance in our temples we are all the same. Everything fades to grey in the end.
I replied thus:
I agree we are all the same. What I am saying is travelling may open your mind to allow you to appreciate we are all the same (at a certain level), but it is the differences which make us appreciate what we consider “normality” in our own country. We may strive for change in our environment and it may influence us to travel, but when we do travel and consequently open our eyes to other cultures, we not only notice the differences, but we really dislike them. I defy you to come to live in England and say we are all the same. You’d hate it, but only for the little differences. We may be very very similar (English & Irish), but you would crave for the small things you take for granted in your home town, whether it be family or the corner shop or just the way we all speak differently.
Do you see what I mean? I’ve worked in some countries for a length of time and I appreciate the differences. I embrace them because I feel (personally) it is important to try to fit in. You know how bad we English are at fitting in!! We are more inclined to start a war on the country, raze it to the ground and then give it loads of money to help rebuild it, but only after we’ve let them all come to our country first as full subjects!!!
So, I like to blend and mingle, but it makes me appreciate the things I don’t need to change to be a part of that country. You cannot erase where you are most comfortable and you will always be most comfortable in your home town/country/garden etc.
I think it only fades to grey if you cannot focus on what is important to you as an individual, and that, for me, would be my identity!