I remember as a young traveller taking "a year off" to see the world, we Canadians vied with Australians for being the most footloose. Why those two nations were over-represented in the hostels and trains remains a mystery to me. Canadians were rich in world terms, but so were Americans and Swiss. My guess is that it was a combination of being outward looking, and having a feeling of security that blowing the earnings of a summer job on travel would not limit our prospects.
Whatever the costs, there were benefits as well.
The most important lessons were the little ones. The sudden realization that the conventions of "normal" were merely arbitrary. That people ate garlic rice porridge or baguettes for breakfast instead of cereal and milk. That French workers started the day with a glass of vin rouge and the Spanish with a small glass of brandy, rather than O.J.
As a budding economist, I noticed that conventions of value and pricing depended on culture. That in places like Korea and Switzerland alcohol was cheap and coffee expensive. That unlike in Canada at the time, students could not pick up a $200 car and drive it. That for most of the world at that time, cars and many other things Canadians accepted as commonplace, were a luxury.
Travel teaches you that the world is not full of scary foreigners, but regular people who do things a little different.
Some say that he has two left hands, and his nose can tell when it will rain. All we know is that he's called DFM.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Traveling Is The Difference Between Visiting the Zoo And Living In The Jungle
My new website is up and running at http://fromthecentre.com, and I've been writing a ten part series on what I learned whilst living in Korea.
Today I came across an article on the CBC website, by Don Pitts, that supports exactly what I am trying to say at my new website. I will re-post a portion of that article here: