- travel

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I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who prioritized travel over material possessions. They took me on trips all over the USA and Canada, and to Europe twice. After I was grown, I continued this tradition, traveling to Indonesia, South America, and more places in Europe. The map below shows where I've been so far.

Future plans include Spain and Portugal, and possibly Turkey in the short term. Ideally, I'll have the health and opportunity to continue to do this for many years, and I'll get to see a lot of this big world we live on, and meet a lot of it's people.

My attitudes towards travel are somewhat complex. It is certainly an activity of privilege. You need to have both money and time to do it, and many people on the planet have neither of those things.

Likewise, there's somewhat of a false dichotomy that many folks espouse - everyone else is a tourist, but _they_ are a traveler. I really can't stand this. Of course you're a tourist. You go to a place, and spend money to be there, and see the sights. That's tourism. There are, perhaps, better or worse ways to be a tourist, but you're still a tourist.

There's also the way that people make a distinction between "expats" (basically, affluent, usually white folks from so-called "First World" countries who are living "a while" in another land), and immigrants (who are most often assumed to be non-White, and from poorer places). That bugs the crap out of me too.

There are only two distinctions that matter as far as I'm concerned. Are you making this new place your home? If you are, then you're an immigrant, and if you're not, your a tourist. And if you are a tourist, are you respectful of the people who live in the place you are visiting, and willing to learn the culture and try to play by their rules, rather than insisting everything be done the way you're used to? If so, you're what I would call a good tourist. If not, the "Ugly American" label probably applies.

That all said, if you have the resources and time, tourism, especially tourism "close to the ground", being as involved in the local scene as possible, is really where it's at. You meet amazing people, learn about different ways of doing thing, find out that not everything that you consider important necessarly is, and likewise, start to be able to see the world from different perspectives. Plus, there's so much beauty in the world, so many interesting places, and so many amazing people. It's definitely worth it.