This is a follow up to the previous post.
Bourdain’s comments inspired me to think about some rules of travel… Here is what I wrote down in two emails and sent to some friends:
I think it [what Bourdain wrote] is brilliant!
Over the past several years I have really attempted to travel as a lifestyle. In the beginning you visit Chicago or New York or Paris and come back with tales defining the experience and the place as a whole aka “France was amazingggggg” . Something strange happens when you begin to visit new places with some frequency. You realize that you have not visited “France” as much as you enjoyed a singular experience. Your trip was limited by your timing, personality, other people on the trip, your health (try having a good sick vacation), etc… there are a ton of variables that all contribute to the cumulative thing you forevermore will refer to as your “Trip to France”. I think Tony states as much when he writes, “I encounter some people — or take them along. They show me their lives. We go some places –meet some friends. I tell you how that felt to me. THAT’S what we do.” And I think that is why so many people love the show. His show is ultimately about his experience- it’s not as much about “look you can do this, too” like many of the other travel shows. Sure, you can visit some of the same places- and should- but it’s the philosophy of the singular experience that makes his show- and your trip to France- great. The politics? Blah. Travelers are above politics or should be. It’s about the experience.
***************** 2nd Email********************
My number one rule is to respect the country and their rule. My
application might be controversial. .. when I ran with the bulls in
Pamplona, Spain, last year I found out they have the “running of the
nudes”. No, no don’t get excited. It’s a bunch of PETA people without
the balls/ovaries to actually run in the buff. Instead, they wear
bathing suits and run through the streets protesting the run. Now I am
all for the good people of Spain demonstrating, but I, as a US citizen,
do not think it is right for other Americans to travel to another
country and protest. To belabor the point, I was against the Iraq war
from the beginning, but when I attended a concert by Canadian band
Skinny Puppy in Ohio and they were protesting America I was likewise
Perhaps I watched too many original star trek episodes, but for me, the
prime directive of not interfering with “alien” cultures should be
respected. I’m there to observe the culture and enjoy it, not try to
change it to favor mine (which would kinda defeat the point of