The value of travel You know, I’ve got spent a 3rd of my adult life living out of a suitcase. and looking out back on those 30 years, four months each year of traveling, it occurs to me, it’s really clear that travel, thoughtful travel, is well definitely worth the time and also the money. And I’d prefer to take just some minutes to enlighten you why.
Travel opens us up to the wonders of our world. In such a big amount of ways, it helps you appreciate nature. I mean on behalf of me, an excellent day is walking high within the Swiss Alps, like tight roping on a ridge, on one side I’ve got lakes stretching all the thanks to Germany, on the opposite side the foremost incredible alpine panorama anywhere, the Eiger Mönch Jungfrau:cut-glass peaks against that wild blue yonder.
And sooner than me I hear the long legato tones of an alphorn announcing that the helicopter-stocked mountain hut is open, it’s just around the corner and also the coffee schnapps is on. That connects you with nature, and that connects you with culture. And when I’m traveling I really like this whole concept travel connects us with culture. once I am traveling I find that there are different slices of culture that I never realized people could be evangelical about. Cheese, for example.
You visit France and they are crazy about cheese! I prefer being a bumpkin in my travels. For me, cheese was always just orange and within the shape of the bread. There you go cheese sandwich. (Laughter) Then I meet these people and, I mean, there is a different cheese for each day of the year! You step into a cheese shop and it’s just a festival of mold. (Laughter) I really like going shopping with my Parisian friends, they’ll take me into a cheese shop, put up a moldy wad of chevre take a deep whiff: “Oh Rick! Smell this cheese! It smells just like the} feet of angels!” (Laughter) Okay!
Well, when you’re traveling you open up to new things which may smell like the feet of angels. a good thing about travel is that it connects you with people. And, if I’m making a tour, or a guidebook or a programme, and that I am not connecting people with people I’m reasonably nervous because it’s visiting to be a flat experience. It’s folks that really make your experience vital. that is the mark of an honest trip. It doesn’t have to be earth-shaking encounters, they’ll be just silly encounters.
I used to be in Italy recently and I met this small kid. He was just looking at me, he was reasonably rude. Finally, his dad said: “Excuse my son, he stares at Americans.” (Laughter) I said: “Why’s that?” and he said: “Last week, we were at McDonald’shaving our hamburger, and my son, noticing the fluffy white bun, said: “Dad? Why do Americans have such soft bread?” and therefore the dad said: “Son, that because Americans don’t have any teeth.”
(Laughter) So, I showed him my teeth and that I style of straightened out a touch misunderstanding between peoples there and it occurred to me: that there are so many misunderstandings between people, and once we travel we straighten them out. I do not realize you, but I used to be raised thinking the globe could be a pyramid, with us on top and everybody else trying to work it out. (Laughter) Then I travelled and that I realized we have the American Dream, that’s an excellent thing, but people have their own dream. Norwegians have the Norwegian dream. Bulgarians have the Bulgarian dream.
These people have the Sri Lankan dream. Travel wallops my ethnocentricity, and I am very thankful for that. It’s something to celebrate! Our dream is gorgeous, but so is theirs. In my travels, I’ve got really been impressed by the number of pride on this planet. Wonderful pride. I used to be in Afghanistan once, in a very cafeteria where the backpackers were hanging out, a person sat down next to me and said: “Can I join you?”,
I said: “You have already got.” (Laughter) “You’re an American, aren’t you?”I said: “Yeah”, “I’m a professor here in Afghanistan, I would like you to grasp that a 3rd of the people on this planet eat with spoons and forks as you are doing. a 3rd of the people eat with chopsticks, and a 3rd eat with their fingers as I do, and that we are all civilized just the same”. He had a chip on his shoulder. He thought I assumed less of him because he ate along with his fingers. That lesson cursed me and for the remainder of my trip through South Asia, I used to be awake to that.
I visited restaurants, fine restaurants with well-dressed professional local people who had no spoons and forks. they’d sort of a ceremonial sink within the middle of the restaurant, people would wash their hands and eat using their fingers the way God intended them to be used. It actually became quite natural on my behalf of me. I had to be re-trained once I got home.
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