Do Not Read About Countries Travel Tip
A reader commented,
“I suggest you read about the countries you travel through, including the histories of them, before you make the quick judgements you have made on this post.” Tanzania Bus Trip - Border to Kahama
I truly believe the worst thing a person can do is read about a country before they visit. If you want to truly distort your perceptions, confuse yourself and interpret the culture incorrectly read and study the culture before you enter.
“If you do, you will surely find what you read.”
United States of America
Thursday, October 22, 2009
When you read about a country, you have a checklist in your mind, and your trip becomes a study in affirming or denying what another writer told you. Facts are different from opinions, I often read factual data about the country, and I will open my Encarta Encyclopedia and read. Or when I have an internet connection, I get on Wikipedia.org.
I do NOT sit around reading Guidebooks; I am a human with a mind, capable of making my own decisions.
There are some obvious holes in this proposition, for example if you go visit a specific historical site, it may better to read about it because the local guides often cannot read… hehehe
However, if you want to know,
“Is the country happy?”
“Do people have jobs?”
Then you need to learn how to observe, there is huge lag between the real world and what writers wrote. For Example, I was in Rwanda, it is one of the more modern countries I have traveled in, and this contradicts the perceptions of people. They read about the Genocide and this country may never be able to escape from this pre-conceived stereotype.
What do they call this, a “Conundrum?”
How can you read a cliché, stereotypical opinionated explanation of a country then allow a country to change? I place dates in all my post, I finally realized opinions of countries are time sensitive, the world is changing so fast, what was real yesterday, may not be today.
So read an opinion of some writer who wrote a piece 10 years ago, then his or her well written opinion has been repeated or “Churnalized” around the planet until it people believe it a fact. They then place it in a guidebook and readers go find it is true, even thought is not..
Readers do not want me to write bad opinions about countries, for the most part this is because they have been trained to read only hogwash Travel Writing, and they expect a format. People who live in countries want to keep their dirty laundry hidden.
I do hope you realize, I write about countries, and readers read it before they go to countries. I know this is a puzzle, I hope to be writing for people who never are planning to visit the country. Moreover, I hope people who live in the country do not read.
Fun stuff and truly a confusing proposition when you proceed to study a country. If readers someday become adult, they will realize what I write or anyone writes is opinions, it is their responsibility in life to own their own opinions, not depend on others to make up their minds.
I carry a guidebook, I read tons of information about countries, but not until I have been in the country a couple of weeks.
I never realized just how true this statement was till I read it. I always read about countries almost to a fault. But strangely enough it never influences what I decide about the country after seeing it and talking to the people. And after all one's opinion is highly subjective anyway. I read about places to see and that sort of thing and usually some of the history of the country.
But as always, it is time sensitive and is only one person's opinion. I love travel and always will. I think I was born with the desire to travel. My ancestors left their countries of origin to improve their lives and my parents moved several times to accomodate change and new desires.
It is a wonderful world we live in and I will always be a traveler or at the very least a traveler at heart.