“And I have no problem with hedonism. But don’t call it travel. Travel should bring us together.” -Rick Steves
Alright, I don’t buy his guidebooks, but his son’s company does employ a lot of my students abroad and I guess I agree with a lot of his philosophies.
Because you can never get enough of this shiz.
“When Americans do travel, the most popular destinations are in Europe or resort locations around the Caribbean—places that cater to a traveler’s sense of comfort and luxury. I can only imagine how American culture, business, and politics might change if more young people decided to forgo a comfortable vacation and instead pursue a genuine travel experience—not a short-lived, consumer-oriented“voluntourism” trip, where privileged visitors drop in casually without careful research or consideration of long-term needs—but a trip where people are driven to challenge what we accept as ‘normal’ or ‘real.'”
I don’t know what my students do abroad. I’m sometimes privy to the filtered instagram pictures and the cheery blog posts. But what is that? What does that mean? I don’t know what’s going on internally or cognitively, or what they aren’t saying when they’re using our time together to laugh about the wine they drank in Spain.
I can’t say, and it’s different for every person. There are too many variables of pre-life prior to studying abroad that unfold during that time away. Too much. But I see it when they come back. The calmness, or the brazenness, or the fear, or the sadness, the depression, the lack of motivation, the resentment. I see it all develop. That’s where I want them, but how do I activate that? How do I keep them there? How do I get them to let me in there when they were hesitant to let me in before, when all was roses?
I don’t know. I feel like there’s something here though. It pulls at me. I dream of it. I think of it. I see it. I want to live and breathe it, until I can get to the bottom of it. This matters. A lot of what we do doesn’t matter, but this matters. How do I wrap myself up in that? How do I make the most of it?