Saturday, January 4, 2014

Travel trouble

At the end of 2013, I left my country for the fourth time in that year. Traveling is great. I love to be 'on the road', in the no mans land of airports and train stations, where you can be a part of the mass that is moving from a to b. The small rituals of traveling; the passport control, the moment they start serving the meals in the plane, the strange smells and colours that come with new destinations. And finally the discoveries of a new world, in which you have to figure out how things are working.

Traveling is great, but there's a down side to it. The more I travel, the more I become aware of it. Custom officers who suspiciously treat you like your a fortune seeking who won't ever leave the country again. The notion of the enormous amount of plastic that is involved with those airplane meals. Flying itself, which makes every other environmental choice I make totally worthless. The frustration that comes along with discovering a new place when thing are different - and hence often illogical - than at home.

It's not a solution to crawl under a stone in Amsterdam and never to pack my passport and undies again. So I decide not to get intimidated by custom officials and I choose not to enter the body scan. And even though the cons of flying are big on the environment, to me they still are not bigger than reaching that final destination far from home. So I compensate by buying trees (which is also a dubious business) and I carry a canvas bag and a coffee mug with me at all times (also when not flying).
The frustrations of exploring a new place will stay, but eventually they will give you new insights and they will teach you that there are several ways to get things done.

Traveling is great. But I do believe that is a good thing to realize that there are two sides to it. Whatever you do with that knowledge is up to you.

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