DD 88

The trouble with travelling is that you have to go somewhere to do it.  That would not be a problem if we were naturally nomadic, but we’re not–we are more gatherers than hunters, and we instinctively seek to create micro solar-like systems around ourselves.

In our homes we have areas in which we eat, sleep, cleanse, and recreate; and each of these areas has its own atmosphere–it’s own space, technology, and support functions whether it’s the bedroom’s dressers, closets, and beds; or the living room’s magazines, tv, and wall hangings; or the kitchen’s technology devoted to keeping us fed and watered.  As in a pre-Galilean era, we are a sun-like center that orbits the “planets” in our space.  It is a comfortable world that we create, a familiar world, and it is a world that is not built for mobility.

To travel is to take our established place and to try to move it about–to try to pack it up into a small enough space that it can fit into a car or suitcase.  We are, in effect, instigating our own  AirBNB-sponsored black hole to compress our world before porting it outward into a distant place where we then unpack as much as we could carry; but that is a futile act that becomes appealing only in the sentimentality of nostalgia. During the travel itself, our comfortable bedroom becomes a dark hotel room; our living room becomes a crowded street; and our kitchen is a table in a strange restaurant.  

Travelling, then, like so much in life, should be left to the professionals.  Some of us may have a nature that is truly nomadic–sailors, astronauts, and professional soldiers, for example; and for them there is no appeal to making a cup of coffee in their kitchen, looking for the tv remote in the living room, or lieing down to read a book in the bedroom; instead, those restless few, when they are home, stand at their sliding glass doors and stare at whatever they imagine lies beyond the neighbor’s fence.  Those individuals are as necessary as sailors, astronauts, and soldiers; and it is up to them to discover what is “out there” and to bring their experiences back for us to examine.

The proponents of travel argue that travel is a way in which to gain a greater appreciation of our home; but isn’t that like the man who was hitting himself over the head with a hammer and when asked why he was doing that,  said, “Because it feels so good when I stop”?  When we travel, aren’t we that man with a hammer?  Rather than sitting on an airplane tarmac or wondering how to convert foreign currency, wouldn’t we be happier with a cup of coffee at our kitchen table, a remote on our couch, or a travel book on our chest as we read ourselves to sleep in our own bed?

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