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Old 07-19-2011, 09:46 AM
 
472 posts, read 793,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
The thing that I found when I got back from traveling, was that nobody asked me anything about where I had been. Literally Nobody.. I guess they were just too embarrassed to ask question like "Just where IS Africa, anyway?" Or else, Americans are so comfortable in their abject ignorance and malinformation about the rest of the world, they don't want any facts or reality to disturb their slumber. Every once in a while, somebody will hear about something outside the USA that fascinates them, and they will ask me "Did you see the Great Wall of China?" No. End of conversation, change the subject. Unless it occurs to them to add "You mean you went all the way to China, and didn't see the Great Wall?" These are the same people that, if they knew you had been all over the USA, would ask if you if you've ever been to the Mall of America.

That's how Lonely Planet has destroyed my cultural and intellectual and spiritual link with Americans.
I completely disagree with you here - and I really dislike that attitude. Why should they care/ask about something that has no connection to their daily lives?

I'd far prefer to hang out with a bunch of people who've never gone on vacation, than a bunch of self-described 'travelers' (that is, tourists) who expect me to hear all about their vacations at great length.

chwboy
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
17,032 posts, read 26,870,341 times
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Its like moving out of your home town it sounds. Whe I returned for a visit 5 years later, I heard the same old stories about the local softball team, jobs and marriages. My life was similar, just in a different place. many are jealous that I travel a lot, but its mostly for business. Meaning flight, hotel, dinner meeting, hotel, meeting at site, lunch meeting flight to next town and repeat. Not to glamourous...but it beats 12s in the plant.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:28 PM
 
34 posts, read 69,665 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
The thing that I found when I got back from traveling, was that nobody asked me anything about where I had been. Literally Nobody.. I guess they were just too embarrassed to ask question like "Just where IS Africa, anyway?" Or else, Americans are so comfortable in their abject ignorance and malinformation about the rest of the world, they don't want any facts or reality to disturb their slumber. Every once in a while, somebody will hear about something outside the USA that fascinates them, and they will ask me "Did you see the Great Wall of China?" No. End of conversation, change the subject. Unless it occurs to them to add "You mean you went all the way to China, and didn't see the Great Wall?" These are the same people that, if they knew you had been all over the USA, would ask if you if you've ever been to the Mall of America
Midway through my college education I traveled and was gone for almost six weeks, and granted I was only in Europe, but pretty much the only question I received after returning home was "how was it?" No specific questions about a certain place or anything else that I may have experienced on my trip. Now perhaps people were intimidated to ask questions because they lacked any kind of geographical or historical knowledge (even the most basic) of places outside of our country. But I think it may have had more to do with the fact that the majority of the people I knew at that time had never been across the Atlantic or even outside of the U.S. (most had probably not even been to the opposite coast). For me, it's often the opposite, and it's always been that way; if I'm speaking with someone who has been somewhere I have not, even if it's somewhere that I am unfamiliar with, I'm extremely interested to hear about their trip and experiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Everyone has their own interests and while Americans get smeared as being country bumpkins that don't care about the rest of the world, I have found in my travels just as many if not more, uninformed, ignorant, uninterested people out there in the world as the USA.

This view that America sucks and the rest of the world has this incredible, enlightened view and great peace and acceptance is a major fallacy perpetrated by leftist pseudo intellectuals.
I once read (I'm not sure how true it is exactly) that the U.S. has lowest number of citizens with passports in proportion to their population than any other western country.
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:12 AM
 
Location: U.S.A.
94 posts, read 193,685 times
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I'm glad this is such a great thread. I don't see why CornerGuy1 didn't like it, but so far has provied great discussion.
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:31 AM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,573,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersb View Post
I once read (I'm not sure how true it is exactly) that the U.S. has lowest number of citizens with passports in proportion to their population than any other western country.
Yes I have often had people from european countries or places like New Zealand sneer about that.

And then I remind them that the USA is 310 million people with 50 individual states. Except for a common language and the common Wal Marts and McDonalds, Maine is as different from Florida as Florida is as different than Utah and Utah is as different to Wisconsin and so on. Sometimes I can even notice differences crossing state borders.

It's hard for me not to laugh to hear someone from the UK for instance proclaim themselves such a big world traveler when they have been to Spain and it's beaches. Which like for us is going from Pennsylvania down to Florida.

I don't blame Americans for not wanting to get in a plane and fly over an ocean to somewhere when there is so much in North America. I've been to 47 states so far and there is still much to see.

Personally in my travels I have found people are people, beaches are beaches, food is food, sex is sex, old ruins are old ruins and so on. I've not allowed my ego to believe that somehow travel has made me some exceptional, enlightened person. It's been interesting, learned a lot, saw a lot, maybe learned some about myself, but we all have more in common than we realize.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:03 AM
 
472 posts, read 793,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Yes I have often had people from european countries or places like New Zealand sneer about that.

And then I remind them that the USA is 310 million people with 50 individual states. Except for a common language and the common Wal Marts and McDonalds, Maine is as different from Florida as Florida is as different than Utah and Utah is as different to Wisconsin and so on. Sometimes I can even notice differences crossing state borders.

It's hard for me not to laugh to hear someone from the UK for instance proclaim themselves such a big world traveler when they have been to Spain and it's beaches. Which like for us is going from Pennsylvania down to Florida.

I don't blame Americans for not wanting to get in a plane and fly over an ocean to somewhere when there is so much in North America. I've been to 47 states so far and there is still much to see.

Personally in my travels I have found people are people, beaches are beaches, food is food, sex is sex, old ruins are old ruins and so on. I've not allowed my ego to believe that somehow travel has made me some exceptional, enlightened person. It's been interesting, learned a lot, saw a lot, maybe learned some about myself, but we all have more in common than we realize.
First of all, I want to agree with you that it's a bit rich of people to proclaim themselves to be 'world travellers' if all they ever do is travel within Europe.

But you don't need a passport to travel within most of continental Europe, and Americans *still* tend to have far fewer passports than Europeans.

The difference between Pennsylvania and Florida, is much much less than the difference between Sweden and Spain. PA and FL share a common federal government, most of the same political institutions, same language, much of the same food... hell the kids probably watch the same shows on TV and say the same loyalty oath every day in school.

There are big differences between US states. But there's also a big difference between London and Yorkshire. Someone who'd only travelled within Britain has missed out on a lot of the world... same as someone who's only travelled within the USA.

I tend to think the reason Americans don't have passports is that the place is quite geographically isolated (flights are expensive), Americans get next to no vacation time, and thanks to its insularity many Americans fail to appreciate that the rest of the world is not one giant hellhole.

chwboy
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:50 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,914,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
it's selfish to pass judgment on people who aren't motivated to escape the same way you are.
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that what's being said in post #3?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHwboy View Post
I completely disagree with you here - and I really dislike that attitude. Why should they care/ask about something that has no connection to their daily lives?

I'd far prefer to hang out with a bunch of people who've never gone on vacation, than a bunch of self-described 'travelers' (that is, tourists) who expect me to hear all about their vacations at great length.
Sometimes I feel the same way--it can often be a richer experience, especially when compared to in-depth ego massaging with self-indulgent "travelers" (not tourists!) whose self-worth rests on their mileage.
But other times I really enjoy hearing about somebody's trip, especially if they speak or write well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CHwboy View Post

I tend to think the reason Americans don't have passports is that the place is quite geographically isolated (flights are expensive), Americans get next to no vacation time, and thanks to its insularity many Americans fail to appreciate that the rest of the world is not one giant hellhole.
Yes, we have discussed this before and there is much truth to it.
OTOH, as Jtur88 said, there are bumpkins everywhere; I think our American bumptiousness gets quite a bit of publicity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
we all have more in common than we realize.
Exactly so.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:50 AM
 
34 posts, read 69,665 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Yes I have often had people from european countries or places like New Zealand sneer about that.

And then I remind them that the USA is 310 million people with 50 individual states. Except for a common language and the common Wal Marts and McDonalds, Maine is as different from Florida as Florida is as different than Utah and Utah is as different to Wisconsin and so on. Sometimes I can even notice differences crossing state borders.

It's hard for me not to laugh to hear someone from the UK for instance proclaim themselves such a big world traveler when they have been to Spain and it's beaches. Which like for us is going from Pennsylvania down to Florida.

I don't blame Americans for not wanting to get in a plane and fly over an ocean to somewhere when there is so much in North America. I've been to 47 states so far and there is still much to see.

Personally in my travels I have found people are people, beaches are beaches, food is food, sex is sex, old ruins are old ruins and so on. I've not allowed my ego to believe that somehow travel has made me some exceptional, enlightened person. It's been interesting, learned a lot, saw a lot, maybe learned some about myself, but we all have more in common than we realize.
I have to disagree a bit. I've been on both coasts of the U.S. and to the middle of the country as well. The scenery is different, the accents are different, even some of the food they eat can be different, but in the end it is not the same as traveling to another country. Even going to somewhere close such as Mexico or Canada feels different (not to mention different culture). I think that is the difference. Going to different states or places in America, it still feels like America, and therefore, is not really so much different from our home cities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CHwboy View Post
First of all, I want to agree with you that it's a bit rich of people to proclaim themselves to be 'world travellers' if all they ever do is travel within Europe.

But you don't need a passport to travel within most of continental Europe, and Americans *still* tend to have far fewer passports than Europeans.

The difference between Pennsylvania and Florida, is much much less than the difference between Sweden and Spain. PA and FL share a common federal government, most of the same political institutions, same language, much of the same food... hell the kids probably watch the same shows on TV and say the same loyalty oath every day in school.

There are big differences between US states. But there's also a big difference between London and Yorkshire. Someone who'd only travelled within Britain has missed out on a lot of the world... same as someone who's only travelled within the USA.

I tend to think the reason Americans don't have passports is that the place is quite geographically isolated (flights are expensive), Americans get next to no vacation time, and thanks to its insularity many Americans fail to appreciate that the rest of the world is not one giant hellhole.

chwboy
America may be isolated on different sides of the Pacific and Atlantic, but take for instance the New Zealanders who the other posters I quoted mentions. Not only them, but Australians seem to find their way to other continents in quite large numbers. depending on where you live, flying across the Atlantic, for instance, can sometimes be no more expensive than flying transcontinentally across the United States. Yes, we do get significantly less vacation time, that is true. But, I believe there is quite a bit of truth to the belief that many Americans believe the superiority of their country is enough of a reason not to travel outside of it. Call it ignorance or whatever you may like.

Just my two cents though
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Old 07-21-2011, 04:27 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,573,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersb View Post
I have to disagree a bit. I've been on both coasts of the U.S. and to the middle of the country as well. The scenery is different, the accents are different, even some of the food they eat can be different, but in the end it is not the same as traveling to another country. Even going to somewhere close such as Mexico or Canada feels different (not to mention different culture). I think that is the difference. Going to different states or places in America, it still feels like America, and therefore, is not really so much different from our home cities.

America may be isolated on different sides of the Pacific and Atlantic, but take for instance the New Zealanders who the other posters I quoted mentions. Not only them, but Australians seem to find their way to other continents in quite large numbers. depending on where you live, flying across the Atlantic, for instance, can sometimes be no more expensive than flying transcontinentally across the United States. Yes, we do get significantly less vacation time, that is true. But, I believe there is quite a bit of truth to the belief that many Americans believe the superiority of their country is enough of a reason not to travel outside of it. Call it ignorance or whatever you may like.

Just my two cents though
I have traveled extensively throughout Australia and NZ and have personally known around a 1000 people from down there by name, probably more. There are tons of people in both countries who haven't traveled south of Auckland or outside of Sydney or to another state. Tons.

I'd say the younger people definitely are more traveled in general than American uni students of the same age, but that is due to the small population size of both countries. Many of your average Aussies or Kiwis, the extent of their international adventures is Bali or Fiji.

I think labeling people ignorant because they don't want to fly 6-15 hours across an ocean and that somehow if they don't they'll never be enlightened is bumpkus as far as I'm concerned.

I've been to Europe several times and I don't think it magically turns you into this incredible all seeing all knowing enlightened person. If people are believing that they should check their ego at the door.
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:44 PM
 
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,787,607 times
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While I agree that the US has as much geographical diversity and distance separation as many European countries, it is not the same. Traveling from Maine to Florida to Iowa to California, you never really have to go outside your comfort zone, you never really have to change your routine and your habits. You can walk into any restaurant, grocery store, bar, whatever, and act no differently than you would at home, and it would make little difference. On the other hand, even though Europe is so small, things and lifestyles do change quite noticeably over small distances.

While it is fashionable/incorrect to think that travel automatically makes you enlightened, I think it is just as fashionable/incorrect to think that people who like to travel do so out of a holier-than-thou/ego thing.

Personally, I like to travel because it makes me realize how little of the world I know, and makes me humble. I think everyone should spend some time in a country where they do not speak the same language and where they do not look like everybody else. Being a visible minority may give you a different perspective, where you have to adapt to society, rather than the other way around. It can also help show that there are many ways to live our lives. People get accustomed to their own lifestyles -- this is especially true of those of us (e.g. Americans) who see only their own lifestyles reflected in the media as the only one (or as being the best). Traveling to a truly different culture might help to show that there are other ways to live our lives, where people don't have 24-hour McDonalds drive-through and still survive, where people don't have always-on cable internet and still survive, and so on.

I know some people who always brag about their world travels (and they travel a LOT!), about how not traveling (like they do) makes you a worse person. They are just as annoying as other people I know who proclaim that the American lifestyle is the best and how travel within the US is enough, even though they have never traveled anywhere else to know otherwise -- I've had these people tell me that we do not need to learn anything from any other culture/country (politically, economically, socially) because America is already the best.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm an American, who spent the first half of my life in Asia (grew up in a 3rd World country), and the second half all over the US, and have traveled quite a bit in Europe (and possibly moving there in the next 6 months).
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