My random internet pottering today has turned up a rather interesting blogpost by Penelope Trunk called "4 Reasons travelling is a waste of time. " Her reasons are:
- There are more effective ways to try new things.
"So if you hope that travel will change how you see the world, doing something [at home] each week to see the world differently will have more impact than doing it one time, seven days in a row."
- Cultural differences are superficial. Economic differences matter.
"...you don't need to leave the US to find cultures different from your own."
- People who love their lives don't leave.
"So instead of traveling somewhere, how about figuring out what you'd really love to be doing with your time, and do that? In your real, day-to-day life."
- Travel is not the time to do deep thinking.
"My guess is that the things you are aiming to accomplish while you travel are generally things you could accomplish on a deeper level if you stayed home and made changes to your life instead of running away."
Read her opinion, it's quite interesting, and maybe even quite true. Her viewpoint is one I hadn't thought of before, and after reflecting on her thoughts, I do agree.
As a [former] avid traveller, I had specific reasons for hopping on a plane: I wanted to see 'stuff' mostly. I wouldn't trade my travels for anything, but I did come to one conclusion by the end: it's not where you go, it's who you're with that makes the trip worthwhile. A European church is a European church and a French cafe is a French cafe, but sharing both with a good friend is worth a memory (and a picture or two). That being said, this can also be accomplished down the street from where you live, instead of after a bout of jet lag.
Now that I'm home, I'm also a big believer in 'staycations'. We don't appreciate what we have in our own neighbourhood, and there is lot's of local 'stuff' that should be seen and experienced. I am still considering doing a big Africa trip next year though, because I do want to experience something that is so different from my life, something which would help me to better appreciate what I have.
I do wholeheartedly agree with Trunk's third reason - I am all for finding something I really love, and doing it more often in my daily life. In my case this will probably happen after I finish grad school (hopefully I'll have some time then, as I'll be in more control of my life, oh and I'll have a cat too). The curling season is starting though, and that usually goes a long way to boosting my contentment.
I guess the whole point of today's ramble is that happiness is free, and in your own backyard - you just need to remember that and take the time out of you stressful life to enjoy it.