“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Same planet, different worlds

I was reminded again the other day at work of how different I am from most Americans (snarky comments can wait people) in how I've traveled and lived elsewhere.

We were telling various "there I was stories," and I prefaced mine with "Well, this was when I was living in Spain." Which drew the response from a coworker of "How many places have you been?"

So, we briefly discussed the major spots I've lived (Eleven states, two countries) and some of the list of my travels. Which resulted in various expressions of shock, jealousy or questioning at the very concept.

Between my background growing up and then being in the military, and people like my wife who grew up overseas, I've become complacent at the thought of foreign travel and living, and I forget most Americans aren't like that. The unfortunate truth is that the majority of this nation never travels outside of their country, and of those that do the majority of those are just hitting "little America" tourist traps in the resort of the moment. I'd hate to think the actual percentage of this nation who have actually spent an extended time overseas, experienced another culture in more than a two hour tour, and learned a bit more about this world than their own viewpoint.

The bad part is I have just as much problem relating to them as they do to me - I can no more imagine still living in the same hometown as my parents and grandparents, and never having been further than one state away from my birthplace than they can picture flying across the world, renting a house and living their for five years, shopping in the local stores and living in the place where my accent is the strange one.

Just my random globetrotting thought of the day.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I know your wife through Amy and I believe I have met you once or twice. I completely agree with what you said that most Americans are close minded. They view different as wrong or worse offensive. I have never lived out of the United States. In fact, I've only lived in three different states, four counting a brief stint in Ohio, but It never ceases to amaze me the prejudices that exist in our America, despite all the many freedoms we have.

Thanks Dori for sharing the post with everyone :o)

Suburbia said...

I just poped over from Dori's to say hello! I didn't realise Americans don't do travel!

Tam said...

Having travelled overseas a couple times, and not on tourist junkets either, I'd like to point out that:

1) If you were born in, say, Brussels, you could travel extensively within a 300 mile radius of home and visit five different cultures. If you were born in Dallas, you could travel the same distance and never leave the state you were born in. Who's more multicultured: The Walloon who's been to Bonn twice, or the cowboy who speaks fluent English, Spanish, and Texan?

2) Europeans, in my experience, are almost as illiterate about American culture (other than what they see on TV) as Americans are about various European cultures. The last time I was overseas was many years ago, and the OJ Simpson thing broke while I was over there, low-speed chase and all. I had otherwise intelligent, literate people ask me if I knew O.J., as though twenty-something bohemian chicks from Atlanta often rubbed shoulders with LA media stars twice their age. Most Europeans I communicate with are shocked to find that I don't live in a seething land of race riots, with unfed people dying of plague in the streets and gunfights erupting on my lawn daily, because that's what the BBC or whichever state press organ tells them.