Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Ugly American, Part Deux

See that?  I used some French there.  Shows I'm not so ugly after all. Ha.

I'm afraid I struck a wrong note with yesterday's post.  At least, I didn't end up saying what I meant to say, which is just so silly when I'm the one in charge of publishing around here.

So here's where I meant to go with the whole 'Ugly American' concept:

It doesn't matter if you're American, French, or Mongolian.  Not really.  What matters is your intent.

If you head to a new locale, whether a new part of the city you live in, or a country as-yet-undiscovered, and expect everything to be the same as the place you came from, you miss the entire point of the trip. 

You miss the joy of travel.

The thrill of the journey is surely the discovery of the unknown:  the willingness to explore new tastes, new visions, new perspectives.  If your insistence upon having your usual bread, your usual place of worship, your usual gym workout means that you don't try a freshly-made chapati, or quietly watch Buddhist monks in meditation, or walk the Scottish Highlands, then, quite frankly - you have missed the point entirely.

When we travel, we must assume the role of guest.  We must open ourselves to all that we will experience, because this is the only way we will expand our world view to understand that really - despite differences in diet, faith, philosophy or clothing, there is so much that we have in common.   When we truly act as guests grateful for hospitality, then we will know the place we have visited.

Although, in closing, I will say this:  had I refused to be 'open' to the experience of Nutella, my hips would most definitely be less - ahem- rich in experience.

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