Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Open wide

“What interesting places should I see?”

Usually the people asking that question have innocent intentions, but it gets my cranky old man hackles up. To me it’s part of the spoon-fed culture. To me it means those people don’t have opinions of their own, that they lack curiosity and ambition and a willingness to go find out. To me it means they don’t want to put in the time and the effort and the miles and the money to learn for themselves, to create their own experiences and library of knowledge. They seem (dare I say it?) lazy.

On the other hand, I totally respect people who say, “Okay, I’ve heard about and read about all the usual must-see places, but I’m looking for tips on less well known—even obscure—places, especially those that fit with (insert personal interests here).” These folks have done some research. They know what their preferences are. They listen to the stories, ask about details, take notes, then go find out more. Yes. Good.

Maybe the first type of people have always been told by authority figures what to do and what to think. Maybe now they’re trying to escape all that but haven't developed the mental tools and habits of mind to do it on their own, because it was discouraged. Sometimes strongly. Okay. I can empathize if that’s the case. Though it’s probably rare.

When I answer the question at the top of this post with, “Go everywhere, see everything, find out for yourself,” it’s only a little bit out of disgust and resentment. Mostly it’s about me wanting the questioner to becoming a better, bolder, fuller, more knowledgeable and more independent person. I’m doing it for their own good, because that’s what we cranky old men do. Whether you asked for it or not.

1 comment:

  1. That is what happens when you develop a reputation for being a savvy traveler, you get asked for your opinion :) They know you are not going to recommend overcrowded, over hyped tourist destinations.