Mindless people travel, those with culture watch movies - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Mindless people travel, those with culture watch movies


There's a number of reasons I haven't traveled, mostly that I have lived with overprotective, religious parents for my whole life, that I have never (until recently) made much money, that I have no friends to encourage me, and the rest are personal reasons. By the time I found a way to finance a trip or two, I realized I have no respect for travel. I do wonder if a lack of experience with it is the reason I don't have better views on travel, or maybe my views would be even worse if I had tried it.

The role traveling seems to take in people's lives is (1) educating on culture (2) educating on ways of life (3) educating on budgeting, how to take care of yourself (4) leisure. Some advocates of travel really go on about the 1st and 2nd points, and all I can think of is how modern travel is so rampant that it is literally destroying the culture that it supposedly studies. Beautiful, old European cities are now so bad even shallow sight-seers say it's not worth going to them. Poor cities (and their economies) are entirely catered to tourists. It is also probably destroying nature (not really done a lot of reading on this...feel free to comment), and it is giving a shallow, summarized version of those other "ways of life".

What really makes me upset is that people think it's "spiritual edification" and then they boast about it, like it's actually a spiritual/cultural superiority card, when they probably were only able to visit a particular place for a period of time that is not sufficient to understand the feelings and motivations of its cultural practices. I think they participate long enough to get a sense of architecture or food. I think it's an insult to say that you could absorb another culture in that much time to the point that you've learned something unique and spiritually beneficial. Because I think the main catch about spiritual education is that it requires patience, dedication and simplicity to gain, and once gained results in more of the same qualities...

Speaking of those qualities, it never really strikes me as impressive when I hear someone say, "I was bored for 5 months, so I visited Costa Rica, Peru, Russia, and Australia," but I have never met and would be so comforted to meet someone who could say that they were bored, or missing something, so they dedicated their time to learning how to make the most of what was around them. (Actually, there's a really nice documentary called The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, in which this poor and lonely person says that when he became interested in nature, he read Gary Snyder, who told him to start right where he was. And so he stood outside his house with a plate of bird seed for hours everyday, until he became the only person to have ever been so close with a very unique flock of parrots and became famous in his area.)

Something I've learned from people from other places is that life is the same all over, and everyone experiences the same problems- why should I think visiting another country, even if it is beautiful, will give me what I never found before?

I do think places in the world other than from where I am are beautiful, but they were meant for the people who were born there. Just like how it's said that humans by their presence will ruin a beautiful picture of nature, I think they contaminate cultures, to the point where they are no longer able to develop along the same lines that they have until then and are loved for. Wild birds are beautiful. But then in a cage? ...It's the same thing. You can't have what you admire, it is only beautiful when you let it be. Am I making my point yet? Onto movies.

MOVIES, on the other hand, oh movies, movies movies... I have learned such intimate things about individuals, societies, periods of time, figures in history, even food and scenery through films. I have learned about what certain cultures value, what their flaws are, what they think about. On top of that, I've seen things through the lenses of intellectuals, poor people, well, anyone other than me. If it's important, I have even seen the landmarks, and through much better artistic representation than my own travel camera. The street life of Paris. When, in comparison, I could have been eating a $20 crepe and staring at people wishing they would think about me. I know people who will laugh at me if I talk about movies so importantly, and that's probably because they watch **** movies. I will actually rate the value of movies below nothing. There were petty moments in my life where I thought I was in a life-threatening situation, that I was going to die, and I really believed it, and what calmed my heart down from really bad panic was the memory of certain films, characters who have lived and died in all sorts of ways. The effect of those memories was immediate.

Maybe people can say the same about memories of travel, if they worked hard during their travels, and stayed contemplative about the whole thing. I think travel is still justifiable when it's limited, to places within your culture, or you do it in important moments of your life, for important reasons, not outside of that.

I have never met anyone who didn't think I was full of **** about this, but hoping for some sympathy from a group of shut-ins...

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post #2 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 07:20 PM
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Well I disagree. Movies are great but highly artificial. You're getting someone's filtered representation rather experiencing the place with your own eyes and ears. You're listening to paid actors reading a script instead of people living and conversing for real. It's like you could learn more facts about a lion from reading about them, but that doesn't replace seeing one in person. Travel can be good or bad depending on how you go about it in the same way that movies can be works of art or mindless trash.
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post #3 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 08:28 PM
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I think it's a shame that the primary mode of travel long distance is very destructive, but I sympathise with people who do travel. For me it's not an option but from a young age I decided I hated my hometown and pretty much just rotated through other places that became fascinating to me as escapism after that, starting with Finland when I was about 12 (well maybe France before that since I actually visited there many times as a younger child.) I also think travelling can be nice not for cultural reasons but to experience different geography.

The mentality that you're stuck where you're born is pretty **** if you live in a ****hole. When I moved for uni several people expressed sympathy for me upon learning where I was from. I really hated school, and I was always trapped. My mum didn't listen to me when I asked her to let me go to another high school, trapped again. The only real escape was when we went on holiday to France (sometimes other European countries.) Are my feelings about travel informed by trauma? Absolutely. I think unless you've lived my life you can't really appreciate that. I remember one time sitting by a lake in France crying alone because I knew we had to go back home.

Some people heard my words and thought it meant they knew me
Truth is, I don't exist, I'm just a soundtrack to your movie
Some background figure in a story that's already scripted
And what I feel's just felt for you to hear me ****ing spit it
I jump in many different heads through these words and poems
Always hoping maybe the next leap'll be my leap home

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post #4 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 09:19 PM
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i couldn't ever agree that places are only meant for the people that were born there. or that only very limited types of travel are justifiable.

'there is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go' (tennessee williams)

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post #5 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 10:44 PM
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Movies tend to have shallow story archs and stereotyped characters with predictable actions that have little to no consequence. Read books, I'd recommend the historical fiction genre it seems like your cup of tea.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
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post #6 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 11:34 PM
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I can certainly agree about the travel. Mainly because pre-pandemic, travel was THE status symbol.
Many people weren't traveling to learn about culture or have experiences they were traveling for social points.
I can still remember getting a haircut while the ladies in the shop tried to outdo each other with their trip stories.
Then you had the people taking the exact same photos at the same tourist traps and sharing them on social media.
So travel was becoming a way to demonstrate your pecking order in the social class. Or at least throw an illusion of it.
Travel became the mcmansion of the 20-teens.

Movies are a mixed bag. There are sure a lot of bad movies. Movies made purely for profit. Formulaic movies.
But if you do some digging there are some good creative movies. I'm especially liking movies from the French New Wave era where they mixed some philosophy into the movies.
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post #7 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 12:23 AM
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People who claim to be cultured because they indulge in the 'arts' are just as obnoxious as the people who go to Maccu Picchu, leave with diarrhea and claim to be enlightened.

I respect humility. You can go wherever the hell you want, do whatever you want, watch/read whatever you want - just please don't act is if you've viewed the world from a branch no other monkey's climbed to before.

The world is not my home. I'm just passing through.
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post #8 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 01:03 AM
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I was fortunate enough to travel extensively in my teens because my dad's job as a software engineer took him to many different countries where his company had clients that he needed to work with directly -- before the whole online collaboration thing came around. I lived in Singapore for four years during high school, and traveled to a few dozen other countries in the span of about six years around then.

On the one hand, I think that "vacations" are kind of pointless. The expenses can get ridiculous fast, and I never felt like the experience was worth the money – especially because they end too fast and then you're left with what, souvenirs? I'd much rather just stay home and play video games on my time off, and use all of that money on something more permanent like a new game, music or PC upgrades.

That said, I can vouch from personal experience that just watching movies at home cannot provide the same kind of exposure to other peoples and cultures. There's just something about actually going to those places, being directly exposed to the people and their culture – not from the comfort of your couch, where you can just "turn off" anything you don't like or don't agree with, but actually there, in person. In my experience, most people who never travel (and even some who do) live in their own little bubble of what they find "acceptable" and are too eager to reject anything outside of their lived experience. Traveling to other countries in person – and especially living overseas – can burst that bubble. It makes you realize that other people live very differently from you and, more importantly, that that's perfectly okay.

No matter how educational your movies may be, you just can't get that kind of visceral understanding from them.

"Asking 'If there is no God, what is the purpose of life?' is like asking 'If there is no master, whose slave will I be?'" - Dan Barker
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post #9 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 02:17 AM
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I do like to travel, but I share the thought of it being overrated. From what I observed with most that loves to travel or a proclaimed "travel junkie" they don't really take in the place they traveled to. It seems like for most, the main motivation is to prove and brag to others they traveled there. The main goal being to take a posing photo with a landmark, photos of trying landmark restaurants and native cuisines, photos of doing activities they can't do elsewhere maybe. And mostly to show they are having fun with friends they traveled with. All motivated with providing photographic prove to others. After that's is done, they go about doing things they can do at their home areas. But as for things that makes them take in the actual culture and the context of where they traveled to, very rarely travelers and tourists do that. Because it's boring, and it isn't something you can show off to others you did it and be interested in you with. Social media rise only made this worse.

For myself, travel really isn't much about the destination, but more to getaway, to relax and having a change of scenery. Meanwhile I do like to learn and take in the culture and context of where I traveled to, that is often very hard without knowing where to look and thorough research to do so. And this takes work. Most of us are lazy. But it is still nice, being there in person despite not doing much, you still have the physical feel of the place in your memory of being there in person in your memory. Not something you can ever get from just watching it showcase in a movie or other forms of media.

The truth is strictly what the ones in power perceives it to be.

Enjoy any good things, even the little and menial ones, as you will never know what impending distresses could descend upon you in a moment.
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post #10 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 02:38 AM
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Travelling and experiencing different people and places does broaden the mind.
If everybody only ever kept to themselves, I think you'd see a lot more conflicts in the world.
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post #11 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 02:58 AM
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the "OE" thing where people are looked down on by older generation until they have traveled and become "well traveled" etc is just that generation's gate keeping. its showing worth by wasting resources. "look how much i have that i can waste so much" etc etc. tourism one of my great hates. but unlike meat eating, i was never a tourist to any great degree, i never left this country. so its even easier to hate tourists.

as narrative building goes, travel is more varied and individual than movies. of course i pirate movies only, and detest going to the cinema so the cost/benefit analysis is easy, movies win since they cost me almost nothing. but you'd get me started on why movies are also disgusting - because people pay for movies and they pay a lot. to me this is like you are a slave building the great pyramids but you get a little pay (even though you are a slave, go figure) you might spend on some extra food etc, but instead you invest it in the fund which pays to build the pyramids. you are a slave to yourself!

all of it $$$$. only idiots don't realise $$$$ can make the world better. instead they want to create something temporary - fleeting feelings, experience. then come home and the $$$$ is gone. idiots. meanwhile people starving, killing animals, climate change, everything will be gone in disaster. you produce the need for brainwashing religions to control your bad choices. next will come the green inquisition because you couldn't do it yourself. comes from a lack of narrative, a narrow narrative, lack of community. neo-liberalism. live in a world of cowards.

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post #12 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 04:41 AM
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im the complete opposite about travel. just seems backwards to force people to stay in one place, resisting change


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post #13 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 09:09 AM
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Something I've learned from people from other places is that life is the same all over, and everyone experiences the same problems- why should I think visiting another country, even if it is beautiful, will give me what I never found before?
I've never once heard that from someone who has moved for a year + to another country. Even someone who moved from the US to Japan and then to the UK said they were surprised by how much culture shock they had moving to the UK because they expected it to be similar to the US. It's also so blatantly not true that you don't need to travel to know this.

If you grow up in Brighton now your life probably won't be like this:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-51636642


Quote:
Sex between two men is a criminal act in Zimbabwe but technically being a lesbian is not an arrestable offence. Instead, the police will mete out "instant justice", says Angel.

"We have witnessed what happens to lesbians. We knew what would happen to us," she says.

She remembers seeing a student at her high school being beaten for being a suspected ngochani - a derogatory word for a lesbian. When passers-by learned why she was being attacked they stopped to throw a punch at her bloodied body themselves.
Quote:
As Angel and Kim struggled to get dressed, the police kicked the women with their heavy boots and beat them with their batons.

Kim was the most vocal and shielded Angel from the brunt of the violence that came at them in a frenzy.

"So you think you are the man? We will show you," the police said.

Kim was knocked unconscious, which caused the officers to panic, Angel says.

"Go and get your husband some water," they shouted at her.

That's when she ran out into the night. She doesn't know what became of Kim..
Even in tiny ways I knew someone who moved to Washington state in the US and they realised that they couldn't find a kettle anywhere, very essential in the UK.

Where are the kettles America!?

Yeah I thought this post would flow better if it descended into ****posting.

I think they mentioned hearing someone shoot a gun too not long after moving but tbh last summer I overheard someone getting stabbed to death so.. They grew up in Edinburgh though my best friend lives there now, and I hear it's fairly nice (except property is expensive 30k for a tiny empty garage or something.) There we go back into how **** the world is again.

Some people heard my words and thought it meant they knew me
Truth is, I don't exist, I'm just a soundtrack to your movie
Some background figure in a story that's already scripted
And what I feel's just felt for you to hear me ****ing spit it
I jump in many different heads through these words and poems
Always hoping maybe the next leap'll be my leap home

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post #14 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by firelight View Post
Well I disagree. Movies are great but highly artificial. You're getting someone's filtered representation rather experiencing the place with your own eyes and ears. You're listening to paid actors reading a script instead of people living and conversing for real. It's like you could learn more facts about a lion from reading about them, but that doesn't replace seeing one in person. Travel can be good or bad depending on how you go about it in the same way that movies can be works of art or mindless trash.
I think a person is largely seeing their own biases when they don't specifically look at the place through another lens. They might see things that surprise them too, but movies can definitely shock your ideas... I think movies are kind of known for doing that. I think you're shocked less often when you're looking at a place in your own way, if your own way is the way that most people travel.

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Originally Posted by Nonsensical View Post
Movies tend to have shallow story archs and stereotyped characters with predictable actions that have little to no consequence. Read books, I'd recommend the historical fiction genre it seems like your cup of tea.
Yeah, I mean there are so many amazing movies that you can spend a lifetime not even having to annoy yourself with garbage movies. When I say a good movie, I don't mean a movie that I agree with btw... I watch movies that I hate, not because of their quality, because of what they represent.

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Originally Posted by Persephone The Dread View Post
I think it's a shame that the primary mode of travel long distance is very destructive, but I sympathise with people who do travel. For me it's not an option but from a young age I decided I hated my hometown and pretty much just rotated through other places that became fascinating to me as escapism after that, starting with Finland when I was about 12 (well maybe France before that since I actually visited there many times as a younger child.) I also think travelling can be nice not for cultural reasons but to experience different geography.

The mentality that you're stuck where you're born is pretty **** if you live in a ****hole. When I moved for uni several people expressed sympathy for me upon learning where I was from. I really hated school, and I was always trapped. My mum didn't listen to me when I asked her to let me go to another high school, trapped again. The only real escape was when we went on holiday to France (sometimes other European countries.) Are my feelings about travel informed by trauma? Absolutely. I think unless you've lived my life you can't really appreciate that. I remember one time sitting by a lake in France crying alone because I knew we had to go back home.
I don't mean at all the kind of traveling you've done. If someone lives in a ****hole, I hope to god they get out. And even if they do only temporarily & sometimes (aka vacationing), but they are escaping a terrible life for that time, that falls into the "important"/"valuable" category of traveling.

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i couldn't ever agree that places are only meant for the people that were born there. or that only very limited types of travel are justifiable.
yeah, I don't mean some kind of segregationist, "you're stuck where you're born" kind of thing... I like the idea of shifting towards cultures that you like, but specifically making that a meaningful, thoughtful action.

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Originally Posted by funnynihilist View Post
I can certainly agree about the travel. Mainly because pre-pandemic, travel was THE status symbol.
Many people weren't traveling to learn about culture or have experiences they were traveling for social points.
I can still remember getting a haircut while the ladies in the shop tried to outdo each other with their trip stories.
Then you had the people taking the exact same photos at the same tourist traps and sharing them on social media.
So travel was becoming a way to demonstrate your pecking order in the social class. Or at least throw an illusion of it.
Travel became the mcmansion of the 20-teens.

Movies are a mixed bag. There are sure a lot of bad movies. Movies made purely for profit. Formulaic movies.
But if you do some digging there are some good creative movies. I'm especially liking movies from the French New Wave era where they mixed some philosophy into the movies.
Like, if it was just people taking photos of themselves at a location that already has thousands of photos, that would be silly but nothing to complain about. Then people brag about having done that and there's a bit of a social competition about it, and that's annoying, and you can maybe complain mildly about people using meaningless status symbols. Then you notice that that location is never going to be the same again, completely degrade, because of the thousands of people who thought that it would be cool for them to take a photo there. That makes me angry. And then I am reminded of all of this constantly by people who talk about this sort of behavior as if they are more enlightened for having done it. That...

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Originally Posted by Karsten View Post
People who claim to be cultured because they indulge in the 'arts' are just as obnoxious as the people who go to Maccu Picchu, leave with diarrhea and claim to be enlightened.

I respect humility. You can go wherever the hell you want, do whatever you want, watch/read whatever you want - just please don't act is if you've viewed the world from a branch no other monkey's climbed to before.
Yeah, you can do whatever you want even if someone like me considers it distasteful and I won't say much, until... what you're doing is harming natural beauty, the living culture that you supposedly admire, and historical, manmade beauty. I don't have plans to become a world dictator and stop people from traveling, but I think modern traveling behavior is destructive, all done for empty pleasures, and should be criticized. Even someone who travels to live amongst a village & learn how to build a mud-hut will have done it for selfish reasons. There's even nothing wrong with it until they inspire a bunch of other people to do the same & the village bases its economy on mud-hut building classes. I think that traveling's destruction should be corrected by people being more thoughtful.
I wouldn't be so angry about it if it didn't seem like literally everyone with a penny in their pocket wants to become a world traveler. And then there's huge social rewards for doing it.
Movies come up because I think so many of the reasons that people travel for could be satisfied by looking into the art of whatever culture they are interested in. Like, movies are not a cheap imitation at all. To me personally, they often feel more real than my own experiences, and I think that would be especially true if you are experiencing a place as an outsider for only a bit of time.

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Originally Posted by Tetragammon View Post
I was fortunate enough to travel extensively in my teens because my dad's job as a software engineer took him to many different countries where his company had clients that he needed to work with directly -- before the whole online collaboration thing came around. I lived in Singapore for four years during high school, and traveled to a few dozen other countries in the span of about six years around then.

On the one hand, I think that "vacations" are kind of pointless. The expenses can get ridiculous fast, and I never felt like the experience was worth the money – especially because they end too fast and then you're left with what, souvenirs? I'd much rather just stay home and play video games on my time off, and use all of that money on something more permanent like a new game, music or PC upgrades.

That said, I can vouch from personal experience that just watching movies at home cannot provide the same kind of exposure to other peoples and cultures. There's just something about actually going to those places, being directly exposed to the people and their culture – not from the comfort of your couch, where you can just "turn off" anything you don't like or don't agree with, but actually there, in person. In my experience, most people who never travel (and even some who do) live in their own little bubble of what they find "acceptable" and are too eager to reject anything outside of their lived experience. Traveling to other countries in person – and especially living overseas – can burst that bubble. It makes you realize that other people live very differently from you and, more importantly, that that's perfectly okay.

No matter how educational your movies may be, you just can't get that kind of visceral understanding from them.
But I'm not just talking about factual documentaries. Visceral is a word that comes to mind when I think of movies. Anyway, I don't have anything against living in a place because life brought you there, and you were open-minded while you were there. Of course you'll learn things, you'll even learn things from spending a short amount of time anywhere. But in the case of modern vacationing, how valuable were the things that you learned compared to the value that the continuous flow of travelers took away from the place...

Talking to someone on the Internet isn't as visceral as touching them, but then, why has the Internet improved knowledge of other cultures and their politics more than traveling ever did before the time of the Internet?

bird
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post #15 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 10:26 AM
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What you see in films is not reality. It's a vision that's condensed, idealised and biased. I'm sorry to say this, but your post reminds me of all those overlong, cerebral posts you see on forums like these describing how one's lack of experience in something is actually a virtue or a gift or it was the right decision all along.

There are subtle ways in which you can tell someone has travelled a lot. Usually, they're better hosts and are able to connect with people more spontaneously, but some are harder to pin down, but still noticeable. Even simple things like going into a shop and having to try to understand what the signs and labels say, or having to use a different currency, the smells, can have a huge impact on how you view the world.
But travel alone doesn't do much if you're narrow-minded or self-isolating. Despite growing up poor, I've had the opportunity to travel to many countries thanks to our education system. Back when I was in college, I wasn't good at making friends and even when I was in a new city, I would come home early or avoid going to parties at night. I remember going with two classmates to a pub in Berlin, finding it claustrophobic, and telling them I wanted to go home. So I did, but I got lost along the away, and I had to ask a few people what train I was supposed to take. My German was less than perfect, so I had to repeat myself, so they spoke slowly and loudly, drawing more attention. Ever since then, I feel more confident getting around in a new city.
I think that travelling with friends is a very enriching experience. SA is a thing of the past for me now. This summer I visited a few European cities with two of my friends, and since I'm the one who speaks English and German, it was up to me to organise things, buy tickets, ask for directions, etc. You learn soooo many more things doing that than just being a passive traveller or reading about travel.
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post #16 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 10:45 AM
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I want to go nearly everywhere in the world all the time. Every minute. I have been to a lot of places but not for long enough time to have been immersed. For me, not moving around is pain. Depression and money are my only travel deterrents (well, there's another right now but I have a trip planned for July so we'll see how it goes). I definitely agree about my selfish nature in this regard and maybe my travel lust is a form of running away? But the problem is when I was really young my mom told me I'd sneak into her and my aunt's (world traveler) travel photos and marvel at them so maybe some of it is just in my blood. I do know when I'm firing on all cylinders I'm usually going to be planning a trip somewhere.

Movies are a kind of travel too I suppose. Sometimes a movie will act as a kind of portal through which my pent up emotion can travel.

...you gotta keep the goal in mind, develop tunnel vision to a certain extent. it's hard, and it's not for everyone.

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post #17 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 11:31 AM
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But I'm not just talking about factual documentaries. Visceral is a word that comes to mind when I think of movies. Anyway, I don't have anything against living in a place because life brought you there, and you were open-minded while you were there. Of course you'll learn things, you'll even learn things from spending a short amount of time anywhere. But in the case of modern vacationing, how valuable were the things that you learned compared to the value that the continuous flow of travelers took away from the place...

Talking to someone on the Internet isn't as visceral as touching them, but then, why has the Internet improved knowledge of other cultures and their politics more than traveling ever did before the time of the Internet?
What kind of movies actually allow you to learn something genuine about another people or culture, if not "factual documentaries"? I mean, fiction isn't real, and often promotes stylized or stereotyped views of things...

The problem with movies of any kind is that they are scripted -- they can only provide information in a way specifically designed by their creators. Even if you find films with different perspectives on a particular people or country, you're still only getting those select views. And cognitive bias is a tricky thing -- it has a way of making us only accept things that jive with our own worldview. Like I said before, if you encounter something you don't agree with in a movie -- if it threatens your bubble -- you can just fast-forward, or turn it off. It's a lot harder to reject something in real life, unless you're great at compartmentalizing.

Now the internet is another thing altogether. Each individual website is still designed to provide a specific experience or viewpoint for the viewer, but the sheer number of them, plus the fact that even relatively inexperienced people can make or at least contribute to them, means that you can get a much broader view -- as long as you're willing to view different sites. It's why forums like this are so interesting -- you can be exposed to totally different viewpoints from people who live very differently, sometimes. Although forums like this which cater to a specific mental illness, and even more general mental illness forums, do tend to become echo chambers for the popular worldviews, while people with different experiences are drowned out by the crowd or ignored. And of course, if you don't like something you can always just click away or close your browser.

"Asking 'If there is no God, what is the purpose of life?' is like asking 'If there is no master, whose slave will I be?'" - Dan Barker
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post #18 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 12:45 PM
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Yeah, you can do whatever you want even if someone like me considers it distasteful and I won't say much, until... what you're doing is harming natural beauty, the living culture that you supposedly admire, and historical, manmade beauty. I don't have plans to become a world dictator and stop people from traveling, but I think modern traveling behavior is destructive, all done for empty pleasures, and should be criticized. Even someone who travels to live amongst a village & learn how to build a mud-hut will have done it for selfish reasons. There's even nothing wrong with it until they inspire a bunch of other people to do the same & the village bases its economy on mud-hut building classes. I think that traveling's destruction should be corrected by people being more thoughtful.
This is the contradiction of travel/tourism. People go abroad to visit new and exotic places, get inspired, etc. but when they are there, they are presented with an image tailored to their 1st world expectations. Heck, if they aren't satisfied, they get their money back! The genuine thing is almost never seen by the tourist/traveller, and the local never shows it because the genuine thing doesn't draw tourists. This is an effect of globalization: people get shaped into a central idea that has nothing to do with their local reality. The central idea then becomes the new "reality".

In one of my classes, the teacher invited an indigenous professor to speak, and the indigenous professor started talking dismissively of anthropologists; that even they--scholars and all--didn't get the right idea about the native cultures they visit/study. She said the native communities don't show the anthropologist everything about themselves! I was taken aback when she said that, not only because my background is in anthropology, but also because anthropologists are writing all this academic material that is not coherent with the indigenous world that they're supposed to have studied! How much stuff in the library (how much stuff in the movies, how much stuff in the travel books) is inaccurate then? Tons of stuff, maybe. And, as you mentioned, people get "social rewards" for this knowledge.

But there really isn't much you can do. Cultures--wherever they are localized--change too often. There is nothing static about them and they will change anyway whether people travel or not. The notion of "natural beauty" of a land or people, and whether we strive to protect it or even talk about it, is also a form of "man altering the landscape" because it's impossible to keep a culture static. The only thing you could do is not hurt or "dehumanize" others.

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post #19 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 01:12 PM
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People today spend a great deal of money on travelling because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism. You're not sold tickets or hotels, you're sold an experience. And the market of experiences is extremely lucrative.
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post #20 of 105 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 01:57 PM
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You're ignoring backpackers and other kinds of travellers. They learn valuable skills that you won't learn at home.

Not that there's anything wrong with package holidays. If a person works hard all year, maybe they just want to go somewhere with a warmer climate, good food and plenty of things to do.

Again, lots of the replies in this thread reek of sour grapes. And you're vastly underestimating what being outside your country entails. It doesn't matter if you don't go off the beaten path and see how the locals live when no one's watching, or even if you don't mingle much with the locals, it's still an experience that teaches you new things.
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