Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?
Places in the world are like books, too many to get to in one life time.
Travel, if done well, expands minds, vaporizes bigotry and nurtures tolerance. Travel, if done poorly, curbs growth, validates bigotry and provides rationalization for intolerance.
Experience suggests that people who never travel retain limited outlooks for all their lives. Of people who stay in one place except to go shopping we might justifiably say, some if not all, go through life with small minds.
Experience also suggests some people who travel much and frequently embrace the nurturing effects of variety find themselves eventually wanting more. Travel turns into a distraction from details. We consume a quick look, take a few photographs and move on. Every destination inspires planning for the next destination. We inhale the aroma of a place but in snapshot time, outside changing seasons and cultural momentum.
And travel distracts us from exploring the wonders surrounding home.
We live in a generalized age. Media attempts to homogenize culture with sound bites, foregoing local detail; pushing homogenized values with trivial stories that do not affect the daily lives of most readers/viewers. Global corporations infect regional diversity with viral, international sameness of product, style, color and sound. Travel becomes less exploration and more realization of widespread homogeny; of cultural loss.
Surrounding home, seeds of local and regional expression lie dormant. Climate, local economy and history teem with opportunity for regional style that satisfies uniquely local attitudes but anti-diversity media aimed at an internationally, lowest common denominator audience sucks our attention away. We fail to see, much less plant and nurture our differences. Individuality suffers. Our locality suffers. Our culture suffers.
The only place left to go, for me, is my back yard; to celebrate delightful details, to count blades of tufted grasses, gaze at prairie flowers, listen to unique combinations of birdsong and observe cycling seasons that happen this way only in this place, only in this year.
I do not mean to discourage travel. Travel early and travel often. Travel now before the strip mall that replaced your main street shows up in the places you want so much to visit. Travel and imbibe what remains of cultures after media erosion but do not forget to look up your street and into your back yard. Do not forget to nurture the things that make you and your neighbors unique.
Do not forget home.
© 2011 Chrome Poet