Thursday, August 25, 2016

Travel Tips for the Ages

There are a gazillion blog posts, magazine articles, books and movies out there touting the life-changing potential of travel.  Those who have never experienced the changes must continue to scoff at the concept, because those who have been lucky enough to experience the changes keep seeking new ways to share the same story.  They truly believe in the power of those moments and the importance of having as many people as possible experience them, or they would simply cherish their particular memories without trying to convince the nay-sayers.  I'm a believer, and it's a worthy cause.

As I recently did regarding my experience with the Taj Mahal, let me enlist a second voice in case mine isn't sufficiently compelling.  We're different genders, very different ages, and from totally different times, but Willard Price had the same wandering soul as the global nomads of today.  If we're all on the same page over 70 years later, we must be on to something!

Willard's advice on how to grow, learn, and maximize the opportunities that the world has to offer distill into four rules that are as applicable today as they were a century ago.

1) Be curious.

"The chief enemy of human understanding is not the one who does not know, but the one who does not care to know."

"Travel stimulates a vast curiosity which we do not have at home.  In our own community, we become so used to the things about us that we do not wonder or inquire about them.  The novelty of the things we find abroad stimulates mental activity - or should.  It should produce more knowledge and less prejudice, for 'prejudice is being down on what we are not up on.'"

2) Be respectful.

"There are many who should stay home.  They are those who when they travel leave behind them a trail of rancor rather than goodwill."

"Why is is that some people who are pillars of propriety so long as they stay home go berserk when they travel?  Out from under the scrutiny of the home folk, they feel that they can cast off all inhibitions."

"He steals the gavel from the Peace Palace in the Hague.  He bashes in a bobby's helmet.  He lights his cigarettes with a franc note and plasters his suitcase with liras to show his scorn for Europe's devalued currency."  [DON'T BE THAT GUY!!]

3) Learn some basic phrases in the local language.

"It is hard to enter into the life of a people without some knowledge of their language."

"The first expression to be learned in any language is the equivalent for 'Thank you'."

"The first courtesy one can pay to new friends is to learn something of their language."

"Language opens doors of understanding that may otherwise be firmly closed."

4) Be open-minded.

"When traveling we are too inclined to behave like square pegs in round holes.  We do not try to fit in.  We will get much more out of our journey by adopting the ways of the [locals], even though we think they are not as good as our own ways. The successful traveler is at home abroad.  He respects the taste and judgment of his hosts and is willing to concede that they are just as human as he is."

"When we begin to see how much better other people do certain things than we do we begin to suspect that possibly we are the ones who are uncouth, uncanny, immoral, heathen and wild.  At least, we become less cocksure about things."

Open your mind, open your heart, and the possibilities are endless.  Brace yourself; life change is imminent.

1 comment:

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