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.
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.
Originally Posted by Persephone The Dread
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.
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.
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...
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.
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?