Americans talk about hitting rock bottom… bankruptcy, divorce, foreclosure… Those aren’t even close to rock bottom. Our “wealth” is so deep we can’t even see rock bottom; much less hit it.
Imagine living in a shack no bigger than a storage shed and still having a landlord. Someone actually charging money for you to live under a tin roof and some plywood sheets for walls. No nails in those walls to make them sturdy, just lean them on each other, maybe rope a couple together. No carpeted floors, hardwood floors no floor at all its just dirt. Now imagine someone coming by every month and charging you money for that. One little room for you, your wife, and 2 kids. I’m here staring at it right now looking at the family that lives there, and yet I still can’t imagine it.
This is the kind of thing you see and think about while traveling. It made me think of something more though. It made think about, why don’t you hear about it from more travelers, magazine articles or TV?
Here is what I’ve come up with:
If your the traveler and come back and start telling people this side of your trip, you have to handle their reaction. Their in front of you, next to you, you can’t avoid the look on their face. Their shrinking smile or dimming eyes.
Maybe it upsets them, makes them sad. Maybe they don’t want to talk to you or hear about your travels anymore. Maybe it dims their idea of what the world and travel is like, so they don’t want to go. You potentially rob them of the experience. You can’t explain travel to somebody that hasn’t done it. You can’t put experiences into a bottle called words and letters and expect others to awaken and grow like you did. You potentially put out their light before they work up the courage to finally go. To go out into the world and see the real world for what it is. To pull back the curtain, and let it wash over them and make them grow.
You don’t want to focus on the negative either, it’s more fun to tell the exciting the stories about adventure, animals, petting a tiger or swimming with a whale shark. Those beautiful rice patties carved onto the side of a mountain like a green grass waterfall. The delicious local foods with flavors you would never have come up with at home, filled with vegetables and herbs you can’t find anywhere else. Meeting people from all over the world and going back homesaying to yourself “I have a friend in Paris, London, Czech and Germany. Maybe I’ll go crash their couch someday.”
I think everyone should travel. To see the good and the bad. So I understand why travel magazines, tv shows and friends don’t talk about the darker stuff. You need to experience both to awaken and grow. So keep the fire of hope, adventure and optimism alive. Don’t snuff it out too soon.
That’s why we tell the good stories and not the bad.
That’s what I’ve come up with anyway.