1 EAGLETON NOTES: To Tour or Not To Tour.

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Sunday, 1 September 2019

To Tour or Not To Tour.

Today, Cro of Magnon's Meanderings, wrote a post entitled 'Itchy Feet', It's not as long and boring as this one might be so it's worth popping over to get the background reason for me writing this post.

Yorkshire Pudding said in response "I think it is very possible to be rooted to one spot like your old neighbour and to be wiser than somebody who is well-travelled. Some people travel without really seeing. The notion that travel broadens the mind is often fallacious."

A friend who is coming this evening to stay with me for the week is one of the most widely travelled people I know. She and her recently late husband travelled extensively in India and the Far East as well as in Europe and did it the 'intimate' way. They travelled by train from Scotland to Hong Kong and from Scotland to Moscow. They were rarely 'tourists', always travellers. They also lived the later years with houses in both Scotland and France dividing their time between the two. I cannot recall them ever, in the 45 years since we met, going to the USA except possibly when travelling around the world but even then I think they missed it out. Even in his last months when he was terminally ill and wheelchair bound his wife ensured that he was able to travel in Europe. 

My brother, on the other hand, has taken the view in life that there is so much to see in Great Britain that he has never even wandered across the channel (despite his degree being in Librarianship and French and doing his dissertation in French and being pretty good at the language). 

All of them had excellent careers and are/were very interesting people. 

I have never been on a 'hotel holiday' or a package holiday. My wife and I and two children spent a number of years reciprocally staying with German friends for a month each year in Germany and weeks with Dutch friends in The Netherlands. I holidayed for many years after I retired with the friends mentioned above at their house in France. I have travelled by car through a lot of Western Europe and stayed in Italy enough times to have seen a great deal of Tuscany and Umbria. I also lived for 10 years commuting between here and New Zealand as some of you will know from 'A Hebridean in New Zealand'. I've holidayed in Australia too, and stayed with family and friends. 

I think that I have managed to get a feel for the people and cultures where I have stayed that I might not have got as a 'tourist'. However I accept that even that experience has been limited. 

I think, therefore, that there is a distinction to be drawn between those who 'go abroad for a sunshine holiday' and those who go abroad to travel to experience and see other cultures and places. To that extent I can agree with YP's remark that travel does not necessarily broaden the mind.

As for wisdom I think that travel is irrelevant. 

28 comments:

  1. Thought provoking post
    As a PBS traveler, a broadened mind sitting in a living room chair may not breath the air of far off places, but it does store appreciation of other cultures within the heart.

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    1. In a strange way, Maywyn, I think we may learn more from PBS travelling than we do from passing through a country in a car or sitting on a beach. We don't smell the smells though: the markets, the seas and so much more.

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  2. I think I may be guilty of being a tourist rather than a traveller, simply through my inate cautiousness, preferring to go down the safe route. However, a package-type holiday lounging by a pool that could be anywhere in the world has never been my "thing". I have visited quite a few countries, both staying with friends locally or in hotels/pensions/BBs etc, and have tried to experience at least some of the local culture where I can. You will never find me trekking through bandit infested jungle with only a rucksack and a mosquito net, but I have been known to share a glass or two with some locals in a bar and try one or two unusual local delicacies, much to their amusement. I have travelled in my own way.

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    1. JayCee, I don't think guilt enters into it. There's nothing wrong with being a tourist or a sitting in the sun on a beach in Greece relaxing. It's just a different experience to staying in a place with a local.

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  3. I wonder if anyone ever reads the Shakespeare quote in the header of my blog. It connects very well with this issue.

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    1. It is the first thing visible of your blog when I open it, so I read the quote almost every day.

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    2. YP, I have a feeling I may have referred to your blog's heading quote in my posts on nightmares, night ponies and night stallions. If I didn't it was very much in my mind. Hamlet is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. Indeed I've seen live performances at least twice in the last decade. I would not immediately have connected it to this post but now that you have brought it to my attention I can see a link.

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  4. I can't remember if I made a comment on your post or not. Maybe I should travel more. I have not traveled much but the Arctic experience living with the people has given me something think on all my life.

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    1. Red, you almost certainly learned more about life and other cultures and broadened your outlook than many of us.

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  5. As a very young man (back in the early 60's) we always went on package holidays, but they were always to places of interest; never to miles of sandy beaches. My mother insisted that we absorb the culture; eating local food, trying to learn languages, and visiting all that was 'different'. We usually had time for swimming as well, but that was never the purpose of our travelling. Our holidays were enriching.

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    1. Cro, I can see that you would have been enriched by your type of holiday - many package holidays now are specifically designed to get one into the 'culture' of places. My parents never went abroad (although Mum longed to to to Egypt because she was very interested in the country's history) and we spent our holidays renting cottages and climbing mountains in Wales and The Lake District. My brother and I loved it. I may not have been culturally enriched but I was certainly physically enriched.

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  6. I know both types of people, too; those who have really travelled (and let it broaden their horizons) and those who have been away a lot but in a purely touristic manner.
    For me, in order to really get to know a place, one needs to explore it on foot. Thankfully, my health allows for that, and I hope it will stay that way for many more years.

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    1. Meike, I agree that one learns a lot more exploring on foot in the micro sense but, although I have hiked a lot in Wales and The Lake District, most of my walking and exploring abroad has been urban walking rather than rural hiking. My serious hiking exploring days are probably over although I still walk a lot on my own and with friends when I'm away from home. I hope that you are able to follow your love of hiking for many more years to come. My parents were hiking almost into their 80s.

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  7. Travel can broaden the bottom as we often eat & drink too much when away. Now travelling is nearly impossible so I have to rely on you good bloggers for other views of the world and mind.

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    1. Ha-ha! Love your opening remark Potty!

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    2. Potty, I, too, loved your opening sentence. I have sat on many long-haul flights when communing to New Zealand but then I would walk hundreds of kilometres playing croquet and that was a good anti-dote to the sedentary times. I think that my serious foreign travel is also behind me now although, fortunately, not because of old age (yet) or infirmity (yet).

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  8. My travel experience abroad is limited, but I would say that what we learn from travelling differs a great deal depending on whether we travel as typical tourists in the company of other tourists, or if we travel alone and spend time with local people (not just as customers and hotel guests). I've never actually been on a 'sunshine holiday', as in flying abroad and staying a week in the same hotel and spending most of the time on the beach or by a pool. But I'd say that travelling by car (or bus or train) and seeing glimpses of many places is one kind of experience; and staying for a while in the same place and getting to know people is another kind of experience. (And then there is the internet, which sometimes manages a bit of both!)

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    1. Monica, I think that you have managed to pick up an amazing amount of information and knowledge of other places and cultures through your ability to speak other languages and correspond and converse with people from other lands. Travel isn't everything.

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  9. I don't think one can really compare people who travel with those who don't travel and draw any conclusions, as your post is also saying. I am well travelled, no beach holidays, but a traveller, and my brother and his wife never travel and have not been abroad. It doesn't make them any more or less interesting as people than me, we are different regardless of travelling. And they are definitely not dull and are very entertaining company. Thank you, I liked the post because you understand it as I do.

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  10. I agree with you and I think I got the gist of what you were trying to get across. I haven't travelled alot, only been to Australia once, Fiji once and Wellington, Nelson and Queenstown once and yet I think my life experiences I've had just living have helped me learn how to live wisely.

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    1. Thank you, Amy. I am sure you are right because you have dealt with people in your jobs and, as I said, I don't think travel is linked to wisdom.

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  11. I've not travelled far afield...other than for a couple of trips for business reasons. And then, they were not far afield...one to Singapore...another to Papua New Guinea...and the other to New Zealand.

    My ex (who travelled extensively before me married...and he lived and worked in New York City for nine years) had planned a trip...a year or so on the road...travelling from LA down through Mexico to the Yucatan...and then back up, across the US to the eastern states...via one route...and then taking another route on the return trip to the west coast. We were going to purchase a van of sorts in LA. We intended taking our time...not a rushed trip by any means. Unfortunately, a recession hit here in Aus,(early 80s), and we pulled the plug on our plan, and never did get around to unplugging it.

    Yorkie's comment makes a lot of sense...I agree such is the case in many instances.

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    1. I'm definitely going round the twist, Lee. I read your comment and duly wrote a response. However in the midst of all that's been going on in my house and life I obviously didn't press 'publish'. My last summer visitors have gone and I leave the Island this afternoon. I think all the places you have been and all the things you have done and written about demonstrate that you have certainly had a rich life. Added to that you have managed to gather a lot of wisdom from your experiences.

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  12. I love to travel, and would do more of it if I had the time and the money! However, there is another side to it for me, and here are a few thoughts:

    1. It's hard to pull myself away from my home sometimes. I love my cottage and garden so much that when I have free time, I just want to BE. Potter in the garden, spend time with my hubby, with our 2-winged and 4-legged friends, and explore cooking again (as I hardly have energy to cook when I'm working).

    2. Having pets means that everyday life is extremely enriching, but traveling is doubly expensive because we have to pay to board our critters. The stress of knowing they are under the "care" of people who do not really know them, and where we cannot oversee them, adds to the stress of travel.

    3. After a few days in another country, bouncing around as I usually do from pillar to post, I inevitably hit that mental wall which makes me sad - it's the thought that there is no chance I am really going to "experience" that country in the short time I have available. I don't do tours or package deals, I usually just arrive, rent a car, buy an Atlas, and with a short list of general ideas about what I'd like to see, I head off into the sunset.

    4. The only "beach vacation" I have ever been on was with my parents, when I was 16. We went to Bermuda. It was lovely. Have looked into going back, but the cost of hotels now is CRAZY. I would very much like to go back there, as the flight there is only a magazine-read long, and the speed limit on all roads is a mere 20mph, and you can rent a scooter and stop off at any piece of shoreline that takes your fancy...

    5. No cruises. I have heard enough grousing by the people I work with, who go on a cruise every year and then spend the next month at work complaining about the food, the service, the food-borne illness, etc. The thought of being cooped up on a ship with people like that gives me the hives. Besides which, the information on how many people "go missing" from cruise ships every year is absolutely bone-chilling. I love boats, but I'll stick to whale watching, clamming, and ferries to the Isle of Lewis, thank you very much!

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    1. Marcheline, I can well understand why you don't vacate your home in search of adventure more frequently. I was astonished at your last point until I realised that 20 people missing each year out of 20,000,000 cruise passengers is probably safer than the number of deaths on land. Mind you even if it were safer on a cruise you would not get me on one (except, possibly, on a riverboat cruise up the Rhine or suchlike).

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  13. I can't see any connection between wisdom and travel except perhaps to reflect that it may have been wiser to stick to the highway than explore up a couple of back roads. Despite that, I'll always be a back road traveller. And think the wisdom to choose the right companion can really effect one's enjoyment of any journey.

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    1. As always, Pauline, you see a slightly off-beat point of view (about back roads). I could not agree more about the choice of travelling companion.

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