When I travel, what I love most is that I get to meet people, like-minded or otherwise. Most importantly, quite a few open-minded people. Like you!
I like to get into conversations about their experiences, leaving amicably, wishing each other safe and happy travels. Everyone is joyful, having a good time, and loving their time away from routine.
Journey of life and life’s travels are not working at the same spot on the timeline. When they interact, beautiful thoughts happen, amazing behaviours happen, stories and legends are born. And we change, for better or worse;) or verse!
Whether we meet travelers, read people or their stories from their cultures, they are all of equal value. In other words, the choice is whether we want stories of local people or commentary by sometimes trained guides. I guess the choice to make is do you want to go in for Travel or Tourism?
I personally prefer travel, because for experience to be useful, even travel must come through physical work, real people communications, and at best, isolation. This last one, is hard to come by via tour-ism.
I believe, one may read as many of the tourism books in the middle, but they will only inform about sights and accomodations. They can suggest convenience, quickfixes, but that is about all. Those that take away from the essence of travel.
To me, the real value of travel at the social level, is the immersion with locals, their storied cultural being, and as a gestalt whole. If you grew up with popular tourism as the norm, then you might be missing the point temporarily.
People like Louis L’Amour, Steinbeck, Gandhi, or Gopinath, really traveled and worked through every experience, pleasant or unpleasant, socially or in isolation, till each one seemed to be part of their comfort zone. No guidebooks or manuals can replace that truth of you, for you.
That’s what I admire: mastery over the unknown. By ‘doing’ in conjunction with knowledge, not by knowledge alone. Even if it shakes you to the core: Let the Knowledgeable mock. They knoweth not what you do.
Whether people stories are fiction or real, they are fun to hear. On a cautionary note, I might add that it will be different even in the same language, albeit in degrees. The english you hear in India, Africa, Britain, Germany, U.S., Canada, Australia, or Mexico; or in the North or South within the same country, is not the same as your spoken english. Even if their stories are Just So;)
To conclude, I say let travel unravel you, to you. And, as far as books go, I prefer reading books written by local “Kiddies and grown-ups too!”* in their language, as you see above: “Mugged by a Moose.” It is a compilation of stories written by Canadians, in Canadian english, about experiences in Canada.
A more foreign language takes more getting used to, but it is more authentic in that tongue. Or, translations best made by a bilingual local. No outsider can get the true essence of folklore, even with the best help. Yes?
😉Yea Yea! I want the best for my money and that means I want the whole enchilada, first hand, without being lost in translation by the commercial minded.
* Words from Just So stories, Rudyard Kipling.
☆ Books I have collected over time, not necessarily the best representation of the particular country.