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Old 07-24-2011, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,198 posts, read 4,210,195 times
Reputation: 2774

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miaiam View Post
Please don't assume everyone travels just to be a "travel snob".

Some people - like myself - are truly interested in other cultures, find that fascinating, and understand the world is a huge place with a lot of nice things to be known and appreciated.
I've found that there are at least two kinds of travel snob: (1) those who have traveled (a little or a lot) and can't shut up and harness their "authority" about where they've been, what they've done, what they've learned, how many times this, how many times that, etc.; and (2) among those who have not traveled much or at all, those who persistently and vocally relish their lack of (interest in) travel as a good thing, as a sign of incorruptibility. Both of these approaches are self-serving and dogmatic.

I know that many people who travel wind up seeing their experiences as incomparable and substantively "better" than the experiences of others. Unfortunately, many travelers maintain this arrogance up to the grave. But travel, I think, can ultimately help a person realize humility, including a realistic sense of his/her significance in the world. Travel is supposed to break down barriers, not build them.

However, not all people have to travel in order to achieve what I would consider a sense of humility and balance. Reading (a sort of "armchair travel"), for example, can be just as effective in deflating egos and removing masks as travel. Overall, though I think travel can help humanize people who are inclined to be so affected, there is no guarantee. Some people who travel are pretentious country-counters. Same with reading--it can produce insufferable pedants with a distorted view of their connection to the world. And the same, really, with any activity: wine, household DIY, cooking, hunting, fishing, grammar, cars, stocks, and so on. Like anything else, travel is great when handled properly, but it can be egregiously mishandled, too.

Last edited by Empidonax; 07-24-2011 at 01:21 PM..
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:31 PM
 
350 posts, read 589,571 times
Reputation: 409
As a non American who has travelled extensively it is quite amusing to see Americans on here talking about how much there is to see in the US. The BULK of the US (I have travelled to several states that were all widely dispersed geographically) consists of vastly similar cultures. I would even lump Canada in with the US in terms of sameness. I genuinely feel sorry for Americans who feel content to just travel in their country. Every single place in the US I have been to has a pretty vapid culture full of lots of shallow attractions (New York may be the closest to an exception). Which makes the US a perfect vacation spot for a child...an adult ehhhh not so much. I need my vacations with a little cultural depth.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Cleverly concealed
969 posts, read 1,529,592 times
Reputation: 993
I made the mistake of not traveling outside of North America/Hawaii when I was young and broke, but with much more time on my hands. Now that I'm in my mid-30s, I lack the energy and the time to properly visit a place, relax and experience its culture. I also don't have a credit card, which hinders travel at all levels, especially for rental cars.

The non-sensible part of my brain wants me to quit my job and buy one of those around-the-world plane tickets. Maybe someday...
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:11 PM
 
1,096 posts, read 4,098,873 times
Reputation: 1095
Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
As a non American who has travelled extensively it is quite amusing to see Americans on here talking about how much there is to see in the US. The BULK of the US (I have travelled to several states that were all widely dispersed geographically) consists of vastly similar cultures. I would even lump Canada in with the US in terms of sameness. I genuinely feel sorry for Americans who feel content to just travel in their country. Every single place in the US I have been to has a pretty vapid culture full of lots of shallow attractions (New York may be the closest to an exception). Which makes the US a perfect vacation spot for a child...an adult ehhhh not so much. I need my vacations with a little cultural depth.
I'm trying to figure out whether your number one or two
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,198 posts, read 4,210,195 times
Reputation: 2774
Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
As a non American who has travelled extensively it is quite amusing to see Americans on here talking about how much there is to see in the US. The BULK of the US (I have travelled to several states that were all widely dispersed geographically) consists of vastly similar cultures. I would even lump Canada in with the US in terms of sameness. I genuinely feel sorry for Americans who feel content to just travel in their country. Every single place in the US I have been to has a pretty vapid culture full of lots of shallow attractions (New York may be the closest to an exception). Which makes the US a perfect vacation spot for a child...an adult ehhhh not so much. I need my vacations with a little cultural depth.
I agree that there's a lot of good and worthy stuff to see all around the world, but North America has more cultural depth than you think. In the cities alone you'll find all sorts of downtowns, ethnic neighborhoods, college areas, museum districts, and other microcultures that are worth exploring. Sometimes a traveler does have to work a bit to see past the chain stores and strip malls and quasi-historic sites, but that makes travel in North America a fun challenge. NYC has great places to visit, if you know where to go. Boston, LA, Chicago, and other big cities have plenty going on. New Orleans, Montreal, Quebec, Memphis, Nashville, Santa Fe, Miami, Honolulu and other places all have demographics and histories of interest. And the smaller towns, too, have something to offer: a small Southern town along the Mississippi Delta will offer a lot of interesting culture, as will a decrepit fishing village in New England or a Basque ranching village in Nevada.

But "culture"--street culture or museums or whatever--isn't the only reason to travel. There's the amazing natural beauty, too, such as the forests of Maine, the lush greenery of Vermont, the Smoky Mountains, midwestern fields teeming with meadowlarks, the Rockies, borderland deserts, the California redwoods, the Boreal region of Canada, and much more. There are a lot of interesting geological formations, animals, and plants exclusive to North America. Perhaps these things don't interest you; it looks like you've really missed out. Or perhaps you're just out for a 'troll.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:33 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,593,182 times
Reputation: 2334
Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
The BULK of the US (I have travelled to several states that were all widely dispersed geographically) consists of vastly similar cultures. I genuinely feel sorry for Americans who feel content to just travel in their country.
Every single place in the US I have been to has a pretty vapid culture full of lots of shallow attractions (New York may be the closest to an exception)...I need my vacations with a little cultural depth.

Nobody argues about the lack of cultural depth in the US. After all, this country is only a little bit over 200 years old, with the first half of its youth was spent in fumbling around its vast property while dealing with many strong and crashing wills of its family members. As far as deep culture goes, we have yet to find the time to consider its importance. However, we gave birth and/or provided nourishment to a different kind of culture, one that has influenced and affected the world over.

We do not have Jean Paul Sartre, but we have Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose works are considered not just "cultural depth", but serious enough to be studied in universities around the world.

We do not have Pablo Neruda but we have Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, and Robert Frost. And yes, their works are read in universities all over the world too.

We do not have Pablo Picasso but we have Mary Cassatt, James Whistler, Georgia O'Keeffe, Franz Kline, and Thomas Eakins, whose works are displayed in prestige international museums.

We do not have the Colosseum but we have Cliff Palace.

We do not have Arles Amphitheatre but we have Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre.

We do not have Sagrada Familia but we have St. Patrick Cathedral, and we even throw in Winchester Mansion as bonus.

We do not have Mozart but we gave birth to rock and roll, blues, and jazz. Do you want to count the number of American musicians whose works had changed the way the world listens to music?

Last, but not least, we have something that no country in the world can compare: we invented kinetoscope, something that benefits every single individual in the world. You can say we gave voice to cinema and we raised the threshold of standard on the world's performing arts.

Perhaps you have been to the wrong SEVERAL states. Yes, chain restaurants and chain hotels exist *almost* everywhere in the US, and if you go there, you would certainly find "vapid cultures and shallow attractions." Why don't you try the other SEVERAL states instead? Speaking as a person who so far has visited 50 countries of the world and 49 states in the US (meaning I do know what I'm saying,) there are a lot more than "shallow attractions" in our beautiful country.

Have you hiked the Grand Canyon in Arizona?

Have you visited Yosemite in California and Yellowstone in Wyoming/Montana/Idaho?

Have you taken pictures of White Sands Dunes in New Mexico?

Have you marveled at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Timpanogos Cave in Utah?

Have you witnessed the thousands of American bison being rounded up every year in Black Hills, South Dakota?

Have you visited the many spectacular waterfalls in Hawai'i, especially Hi'ilawe Falls?

Have you been to Indian Village and the Death Valley in California?

Have you spend a whole week driving the wine road and tasting some of the best wines in the world, just happened to be produced in "vapid and shallow" California?

Don't feel sorry for us. Instead, feel some regret that you have judged us too hastily, with nary an understanding of what we are, where we came from, and what we have to offer.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:43 AM
 
350 posts, read 589,571 times
Reputation: 409
Let me just give some background on myself so you guys can understand where I'm coming from.
I'm from the Caribbean and have vacationed (like many Caribbean people) in the US/Canada at least once a year for most of my life. I only started travelling outside of those two countries ten years ago .

I have since been to all the continents (excluding Australia and Antarctica) and the contrast between the places I've been in the last 10 years and the US/Canada is vast. It honestly made me regret all those trips to the States that have been the bulk of my travels. I've been to quite scenic parts of the US and Canada but I find that there is almost always a packaged feel to attractions there. Everything is soo slickly packaged. There is often style with no substance, no layers.I have found I have seen as much if not more beauty in other parts of the world, without the packaged American blandness. I now reserve the US/Canada for more "fluff" trips such as amusement parks, shopping, eating out. Americans/Canadians do fluff very very well and I can enjoy those trips very much in their own way. It's like I wouldn't go to Italy or Kenya expecting to have a great time at amusement parks there lol....But yes, the vacations I really look forward to are always outside of the US/Canada. I take America for what it is and can enjoy it once I'm aware of its limitations.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:47 AM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,593,182 times
Reputation: 2334
Quote:
Originally Posted by thewitchisback View Post
Everything is soo slickly packaged. There is often style with no substance, no layers.I have found I have seen as much if not more beauty in other parts of the world, without the packaged American blandness.

There is nothing "packaged, blandness, fluff, and limited" about the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, White Sands, Black Hills, Death Valley, Big Hole, Grand Tetons, the bayou, the vast majority of Alaska, Rockies, Appalachians, Great Lakes, Everglades, etc.

"Packaged, blandness, fluff, and limited" do not exist in Boston (MA), Memphis (TN), NYC (NY), New Orleans (LA), San Francisco (CA), Jim Thorpe (PA), La Conner (WA), Cooperstown (NY), Stowe (VT), Litchfield (CT), Mendocino (CA), Milford (PA), Paia (HI), Langley (WA), Guilford (CT), Newburyport (MA), Cayucos (CA), Beaufort (SC), Bisbee (AZ), Ashland (OR), Winthrop (WA), Stockbridge (MA), Woodstock (CT), etc.

I could go on and on, since there are thousands of town and cities in the US with thousands of different characters, half of them without a chain store, McD, or Ripley Believe It or Not in sight. But then again, why spend time explaining calculus to one who has just mastered long division? You go on and believe what you think you know about "the BULK of the US" in your "travelling to SEVERAL states", we "shallow and vapid" Americans know what treasure we have in our "packaged, fluff, bland and limited" home, and we don't mind that our guests walking around feeling superior in their own oblivion.

What you seek, you find.

Last edited by Ol' Wanderer; 07-25-2011 at 10:00 AM..
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:58 AM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,901 posts, read 20,203,525 times
Reputation: 35922
I don't think anyone is saying that the US has everything ... but the US is far from a bland country to visit with its diverse states and scenery. To each his own. I would love the opportunity to travel abroad but haven't done so for several reasons:

1. Too expensive: Many countries have currency exchange rates that do not favor Americans
2. Lack of travel partners: Although I've been to Canada and traveled domestically solo, I think it would be a bad idea for a single female to travel on her own abroad.
3. Political unrest in many countries makes me desire to stay close to home
4. Language barriers: Although many non-English countries have English speakers, I don't expect them to always accommodate me in the language department. I would feel more confident if I knew the language of the land prior to making a solo trip. Unfortunately, being a hearing impaired person, learning new languages have been difficult for me.
5. Length of time spent in an airplane: The longest I've been in a plane was the 5.5 hours traveling to the East Coast US ... Traveling abroad requires a much longer time inside an airplane and much of that is over an ocean. That is not very appealing to me right now unless I had someone traveling with me.
6. Concern about being a potential victim of a tourist scam due to my unfamiliarity with the country.

These are my specific reasons for not traveling abroad. If the first three weren't issues (I can deal with the last three), I'd book a trip ASAP to Europe and Australia ASAP as I've been dying to visit and would love to experience different cultures, food and scenery.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:03 AM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,901 posts, read 20,203,525 times
Reputation: 35922
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles in PGI View Post
Nobody argues about the lack of cultural depth in the US. After all, this country is only a little bit over 200 years old, with the first half of its youth was spent in fumbling around its vast property while dealing with many strong and crashing wills of its family members. As far as deep culture goes, we have yet to find the time to consider its importance. However, we gave birth and/or provided nourishment to a different kind of culture, one that has influenced and affected the world over.

We do not have Jean Paul Sartre, but we have Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose works are considered not just "cultural depth", but serious enough to be studied in universities around the world.

We do not have Pablo Neruda but we have Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, and Robert Frost. And yes, their works are read in universities all over the world too.

We do not have Pablo Picasso but we have Mary Cassatt, James Whistler, Georgia O'Keeffe, Franz Kline, and Thomas Eakins, whose works are displayed in prestige international museums.

We do not have the Colosseum but we have Cliff Palace.

We do not have Arles Amphitheatre but we have Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre.

We do not have Sagrada Familia but we have St. Patrick Cathedral, and we even throw in Winchester Mansion as bonus.

We do not have Mozart but we gave birth to rock and roll, blues, and jazz. Do you want to count the number of American musicians whose works had changed the way the world listens to music?

Last, but not least, we have something that no country in the world can compare: we invented kinetoscope, something that benefits every single individual in the world. You can say we gave voice to cinema and we raised the threshold of standard on the world's performing arts.

Perhaps you have been to the wrong SEVERAL states. Yes, chain restaurants and chain hotels exist *almost* everywhere in the US, and if you go there, you would certainly find "vapid cultures and shallow attractions." Why don't you try the other SEVERAL states instead? Speaking as a person who so far has visited 50 countries of the world and 49 states in the US (meaning I do know what I'm saying,) there are a lot more than "shallow attractions" in our beautiful country.

Have you hiked the Grand Canyon in Arizona?

Have you visited Yosemite in California and Yellowstone in Wyoming/Montana/Idaho?

Have you taken pictures of White Sands Dunes in New Mexico?

Have you marveled at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Timpanogos Cave in Utah?

Have you witnessed the thousands of American bison being rounded up every year in Black Hills, South Dakota?

Have you visited the many spectacular waterfalls in Hawai'i, especially Hi'ilawe Falls?

Have you been to Indian Village and the Death Valley in California?

Have you spend a whole week driving the wine road and tasting some of the best wines in the world, just happened to be produced in "vapid and shallow" California?

Don't feel sorry for us. Instead, feel some regret that you have judged us too hastily, with nary an understanding of what we are, where we came from, and what we have to offer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles in PGI View Post
There is nothing "packaged, blandness, fluff, and limited" about the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, White Sands, Black Hills, Death Valley, Big Hole, Grand Tetons, the bayou, the vast majority of Alaska, Rockies, Appalachians, Great Lakes, Everglades, etc.

"Packaged, blandness, fluff, and limited" do not exist in Boston (MA), Memphis (TN), NYC (NY), New Orleans (LA), San Francisco (CA), Jim Thorpe (PA), La Conner (WA), Cooperstown (NY), Stowe (VT), Litchfield (CT), Mendocino (CA), Milford (PA), Paia (HI), Langley (WA), Guilford (CT), Newburyport (MA), Cayucos (CA), Beaufort (SC), Bisbee (AZ), Ashland (OR), Winthrop (WA), Stockbridge (MA), Woodstock (CT), etc.

I could go on and on, since there are thousands of town and cities in the US with thousands of different characters, half of them without a chain store, McD, or Ripley Believe It or Not in sight. But then again, why spend time explaining calculus to one who has just mastered long division? You go on and believe what you think you know about "the BULK of the US" in your "travelling to SEVERAL states", we "shallow and vapid" Americans know what treasure we have in our "packaged, fluff, bland and limited" home, and we don't mind that our guests walking around feeling superior in their own oblivion.

What you seek, you find.
Thank you for these two posts ... You've given me additional ideas for domestic travel. There are lots to our great country I have yet to see.
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