Monday, 10 September 2012

Point me at lost islands

Words via Student Travel on FB today. 

The wife of some distant cousin of mine said that she had never really left the little town that she was from. She had studied close by, she works near her home town and well, now she got married there and is living there with her husband and two children. She added that there was some desire to leave and travel, but that ultimately, she was happy with remaining at home.

Until I was in Grade 4, we moved around a lot, so I think it is somehow embedded in me to want to leave a place after a few years. But is leaving the same as travelling? Has travelling not become some kind of spectator sport, where every sight/site is mediated through a camera lens, and then replayed on FB/Picasa/etc. for the audience of friends and family? When we travel, are we really interested in engaging with a different culture, or is it more about taking the picture to prove to others that you are a Weltenbummler. This is not accusatory, I mean, when we drive somewhere the cameras are always packed and charged and ready to be pointed at something. But most of the photographs are of nothing, and a memory would perhaps have been better than an image on a screen.

Perhaps one can be a tourist of a different kind and remain in the same place but travel nonetheless: if you see each of your friends as a country of their own, with its own cultures and religions and beliefs to be considered and respected, well, then you can do all kinds of travelling, without moving.

On a semi-related note, there was this rap song called Traumreise by Massive Töne back in the day, also about travelling sans going anywhere, really. Filmed in Cape Town.

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