“A pair of wings, a different respiratory system, which enabled us to travel through space, would in no way help us, for if we visited Mars or Venus while keeping the same senses, they would clothe everything we could see in the same aspect as the things of the Earth. The only true voyage, the only bath in the Fountain of Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees, that each of the is;”
Marcel Proust—La Prisonnière
(Photograph: the door to a lovely home/ Zurich, Switzerland/ Julie Cook/ 2013)
One of the greatest offenses committed by those who do travel, of those who are labeled simply as “tourists” –is that they do not “see” the places and or sights of where it is a journey takes them through new eyes…that is to say as through the eyes of others. When any of us attempts viewing other people, other places, other cultures though our own eyes–that is through our own experiences, our own filters, we often walk away disappointed and even “less than” by the experience.
The tourist expects to be on the receiving end, to be entertained, to be catered to, to simply and quickly see the surface and just as quickly, move on to the next site or activity—they are receptors, not participants. They merely skim the surface and are often disappointed. The tourist is passive–just waiting for “it” to come to him or her and then very very upset and disappointed when “it” never comes.
The traveler goes open and ready; open to what may lie ahead during the journey. The traveler is ready for what the journey may or may not provide and is then ready to dig deeper if something is missed. The traveler is active, always seeking, not satisfied with what’s merely on the outside. They must go, they yearn to go, beyond what is merely seen on top—they can’t walk away until they know more…
Are you a tourist or a traveler—do you want to experience more from your journeys, your trips? Or are you merely satisfied with merely the top layer of life?
First— never be afraid of venturing beyond your own door, your own driveway, your own yard. If we live in fear of the what if’s; the chances of danger and harm, the mishaps…we run the risk of never knowing anything new or different. We miss the opportunity of making or finding a new friend, a new love, a new joy. We must be ready to go when called, to be open to the new possibilities—for the chance to go, to see, to experience is all a gift—a grand gift we give ourselves and the world.
Secondly— do not sit back waiting for “life” to come to you—it won’t. You must take an active role. You must be willing to get wet, get dirty, get crowded, get tired if you’re going to make more of any journey. Be open to new tastes, new sounds, new sights…then and only then can you truly say that you have traveled and are the better for it.
To “mis-use” a quote from a popular commercial—“travel thirsty my friends”