Points on American Reluctance To Travel
Sherman Oaks, California
I had a question for travel guru Rolf Potts about why Americans are so reluctant to travel overseas. He answered it.
A few additional points:
✈ A frequent excuse is that the United States is geographically distant from the rest of the world.
Nonsense. Australia and New Zealand are also geographically distant -- Sydney to Tokyo is a 10-hour flight, and Auckland to LAX is 12 -- but their nationals travel the world. Because they want to.
✈ Geographic isolation is a meaningless concept in a world where two or three flights can connect any city pair. Airbus and Boeing have models which span one-third of the globe without stopping for gas. A person in Bamako, Mali, can fly to New York City with a single change of plane, and it works in the opposite direction, too.
✈Even if the concept were meaningful, the U.S. isn't geographically distant from everywhere. Mexico, in particular, is next door, and perhaps the American travel attitude that vexes me the most is the refusal of many Americans to see Mexico as a viable travel option. I chalk it up to the fact that Mexico is not seen as a glamourous destination. Co-workers won't ohh and ahh if you say you spent a week in Zacatecas; most will look at you funny and say "That's nice."
✈ Possibly the stupidest excuse I hear is that "we have everything in the United States." If all you're considering is the geography, maybe that's true. But the deserts of Nevada are not the deserts of Rajasthan, and the deciduous rain forests of Oregon are not those of Japan.
But nothing compares to the totality of being in a foreign country. The air, the people, the way the sidewalks are paved, the street noise, the dress, the layout of towns, the buzz of language -- everything in the natural and built environment combines into a gestalt that does not exist anywhere else.
Where in the United States can you see this?