Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Travel Studies Seminar: My Philosophy

Paris, 2008

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs,
fear the religion and avoid the people,
you might as well stay home."
—James Michener

Travel is compelling because it's different. Don't be surprised when the pillows look fluffy but feel flat, when the basin has one tap for hot and one tap for cold and no stopper, when the towels are stiff, or when there's not an ice machine down the hall.

Don't be upset that the whipped cream isn't sweet, that there's no elevator, or that the waiter doesn't seem to notice you. Don't compare the air-conditioning or the width of the shower with your comforts at home. Don't expect a washcloth, a tiny bottle of lotion, or room service.

It's funny to hear someone complain that the waiters in Poland don't speak English. Why should they? Do you speak Polish? There's a lot of ugly Americans touring the world, and we shouldn't add to their numbers. Relish the contrasts!

And don't expect folks in other countries to want to be Americans. Rick Steves says, "I was raised thinking the world was a pyramid with the USA on top and everyone else trying to get there. I believed our role in the world was to help other people get it right . . . American-style. But travel changed my perspective. I've met intelligent people, nowhere near as rich, free, or blessed with opportunity as I was, who wouldn't trade passports."

Experiencing another country is one of the things money can't buy. When something is different, take a picture and write it down. Your most priceless souvenirs will be your memories. Expect that.

Travel Tips:

  1. Travel lightly. You are not traveling for people to see you.
  2. Travel expectantly. Every place you visit is like a surprise package to be opened. Untie the strings with an expectation of high adventure.
  3. Travel hopefully. "To travel hopefully," wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, "is better than to arrive."
  4. Travel humbly. Visit people and places with reverence and respect for their traditions and ways of life.
  5. Travel courteously. Consideration for fellow travelers and hosts will smooth the way through the most difficult days.
  6. Travel gratefully. Show appreciation for the many things that are being done by others for your enjoyment and comfort.
  7. Travel with an open mind. Leave your prejudices at home.
  8. Travel with curiosity. It is not how far you go, but how deeply you go that mines the gold of experience. Thoreau wrote a big book about tiny Walden Pond.
  9. Travel fearlessly. Banish worry and timidity; the world and its people belong to you just as you belong to the world.
  10. Travel relaxed. Make up your mind to have a good time. Let go and enjoy it.
  11. Travel patiently. It takes time to understand others, especially when there are barriers of language and custom; keep flexible and adaptable to all situations.
  12. Travel with the spirit of a world citizen. You'll discover that people are basically much the same the world around. Be an ambassador of goodwill to all people.

Thanks to Rick Steves for taking us through the back door.

Graduation Announcements:

  1. Two Extra Credit prizes will be awarded to Hannah at Sherbet Blossom, and Jenny at Formerly Phread for recruiting the most students to School Days. Congratulations! Please email me your addresses and I'll send you your prize! Write Extra Credit in the subject line.
  2. Everyone who has completed every assignment for every class wins a prize. (You're on the honor system.) Email me your name and address by Nov 20th, and I'll send you your prize. Write Honorary Degree in the subject line.
  3. Everyone who has done most of the assignments (grade yourself) gets a Graduation Certificate. Email me your name by Nov 20th, and I'll email you your certificate. Write Graduate in the subject line.
  4. Everyone who came to class fairly regularly gets an Associate Degree. Email me your name by Nov 20th, and I'll email you your certificate. Write Associate Degree in the subject line.
  5. Graduation Ceremony Wednesday, November 25th. Prizes will be mailed that day, too.
My email: martyhalverson at comcast.net (use the at sign.)


*If you do any part of this assignment on your blog, please link it back to TravelinOma and provide proper attribution. Leave a comment here (with a link to your homework if you want to share it) and/or a link to your blog (so we can get to know you.) School Days has open enrollment so join anytime. No make-up work required! If you're new, click here for an orientation.


diane said...

I love your travel philosophy. Rules to live by.

Soul-Fusion said...

I LOVE this! It should be required reading when applying for passport. I will never forget the girls in my study abroad program who got excited about finding "American candy!" in Austria or Italy when we had been abroad for only a couple of weeks. Why travel around the world to get something you can find easily at home?