Friday, March 23, 2012

Axiom 19: The Power of Travel (Part 2)

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” -Mark Twain

In part 1 I gave an overview with some generalizations of why travel is important. I wanted to continue to expand that idea with some specific personal experiences. My guess is that a lot of people that read part 1 will agree that travel is important but will fail to take any further steps to travel because they do not see specific benefits. Hopefully some of my observations below will show some specific benefits and inspire you to take a journey of enlightenment of your own.

Los Angeles was the first real city that I ventured to on my own. It was intimidating at first, but now that I've been a few times I have grown to love the city and actually know some of the streets better than here in Dallas. LA made me learn about the power of individualism. I find the people there infinitely interesting (in some cases to the point of extreme vanity). From the beach bums, Hollywood weirdos, Beverly Hills socialites, and so on, everyone has their own unique story. What makes it even more interesting is that no one seems to have been born here. 

Las Vegas is really one of the few cities I've really grown to dislike. The fact that there is practically no where to sit down anywhere on the strip that doesn't have a bill changer in front of you is repulsive to me. Fanny-pack wearing tourists are herded like animals from one casino to another. They are plied with alcohol, sex, food, and gambling to the point of exhaustion. The only lesson of value I learned here was one of weakness. Las Vegas will bring out the worst in you if you let it. It will bring out your weakness. Las Vegas taught me what I don't want to be like.

London was a breathe of fresh air in classic style, tradition, formality, and class. Its really one of a few places in the world easily accessible to Americans. For me it was different enough there to throw me totally out of my element yet I still felt comfortable. I'm still figuring this place out, but I can't help deny this is one of the most powerful places I have been to.

New York City made me aware of the importance of the collective. Growing up here in Texas the importance is always placed on the individual because of the abundance of space and resources. NYC is a symphony of people that sometimes hangs delicately in the balance from things as simple as trash pickup. If you're are a republican from the heartland of America coming here will help you understand things from the left. And while you may not agree with their politics, you will at least make sense of the situation.

San Francisco surprisingly taught me about nature. There's almost no where in the city that your not aware of its presence. The bay, the redwood trees in nearby Muir Woods, the cliff side on the beach, the steep hills all throughout the city, and the threat of death by a massive earthquake all make you feel different about your place in the world. The presence of nature may not seem like a big deal to some people but growing up in Texas the power of nature pales in comparison. I can't even remember seeing a mountain until I was a teenager.

Lastly, Paris taught me the importance of learning to live in the moment. Here in America we get caught up so much in productivity and making money we fail to relax enough to do something as simple to sit down and enjoy a meal with our friends and family. In Paris the emphasis is on what's going on today, not what's going on tomorrow. I've realized that as important as planning for the future is it is also equally as important to enjoy life today.