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Who knew?

Who knew?

By WADR

Communication Environment Opinions 


Discover a world of travel myths. Travel is one of those subjects that prompts torrents of discussion and advice, not all of it welcome and much of it inaccurate. An illustration of the massive interest in travelling is the number of quotations you can find on the subject. Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times. Adventure may hurt but monotony will kill you. Collect moments not things. They also say travel broadens the mind and your correspondent would add that it also lightens the wallet, especially in countries where our Aussie dollar appears to have the value of Monopoly money. But hey. We’re advised to “quit your job, buy a ticket, get a tan, fall in love, never return”. Divorce lawyers love that one. Hans Christian Andersen said that to travel is to live. Oscar Wilde advised to live life with no excuses and travel with no regret and the Dalai Lama said “once a year go someplace you’ve never been before”. In my case that could be Fawkner, which is a few kilometres from my house. WADR would add that travel, and particularly foreign travel, smashes misconceptions. Many people have fairly strong opinions of other countries, and perversely, it seems especially if they’ve never visited them. This is confirmed in one of my favourite sayings from Aldous Huxley. He said: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries”. You know those tired old chestnuts. The French are unfriendly, Italians disorganised, Scandinavians cold, British food inedible and so on. It’s as ridiculous as visitors to our shores stepping off the plane and expecting to see mobs of kangaroos hanging around the suburbs of Melbourne. Hold on, Skippy just bounded past my lounge room window. I accept that occasionally a generalisation appears to be confirmed. Once in Paris my daughter, then around 14, told a waiter in her rehearsed French “je suis vegetarien” to which he replied in perfect English “that is not my problem” before walking off. But you don’t judge a country by one rude waiter in the French capital. Okay, I accept there are a lot of rude waiters there. My family has a number of French friends and without exception they are the nicest people you could imagine. After several years of negative publicity about poisonous politics, gun massacres and a country riven by discord, your correspondent travelled to the US earlier this year with some trepidation. In the Trump era we hear so many negative things about America and Americans that it’s easy to fall for the generalisations. What your correspondent found was a country bursting with energy, friendly and helpful locals, wonderful cities and surprisingly good weather for the middle of winter. And in over a month there wasn’t a single moment when it felt unsafe. As Mark Twain wrote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness”. Do you ever come across amusing incidents related to the law? Then why not contribute to WADR? Send your submission to edassist@liv.asn.au.

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