Citizen of the earth

When Americans travel, it often seems like they don’t really want to learn about a place. They don’t want to be immersed and they don’t want to see from the vantage point of the locals. Instead they prefer manufactured experiences, like you get from a cruise or Disney properties.

I’m fine with the idea of hanging out on a cruise ship looking at some water (being on a boat is one of my favorite things) and enjoying the entertainment. I certainly respect Disney just due to how relevant it is for my line of work. But these are not first-degree experiences. In my mind, physical displacement is not sufficient to be deemed “travel.” There are many pros and cons of every world destination, and I want to experience them as they are, not sanitized and through no lens other than my own personal bias.

I complain about France perhaps more than other places I’ve lived, but I can do so because I’ve worked my way through the system. Obviously as an expat the immersion potential is greater, but how many expats do you know who have gone so far as to fight a speeding ticket in a foreign country, for example? As with any country, France has good aspects and bad aspects. I want to learn about both.

I travel because I don’t like the idea of there being aspects of life on earth that I don’t know about. In recent years I’ve come to despise the concept of borders. Yeah, I understand why borders and local governance make sense, but I feel like a citizen of the earth and it really bothers me that there are places on earth that I cannot freely go. I’d live everywhere if I could, but a life of travel is the closest approximation possible.

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