Traveling to be a better person

A colleague came back to work from holiday. They had made a fantastic road trip in the US, driving all the way from San Francisco to New Orleans, doing a little zigzagging and stopping here and there. Colleague told interesting stories of things they saw. Among the sights was e.g. this somewhat questionable kitsch restaurant.

I’ve not really travelled in the US despite a layover in Miami airport and a one week visit to New York and Washington D.C.. I wish I could travel more widely in the US. There are so many things to see, people to meet, concerts to attend to, breakfasts to eat and record stores to go crazy in.

Travelling should be possible for everyone, without financial or ecological consequences. Yes, impossible. But still. It should be, as it can have many benefits on the society. I genuinely think it makes people more open-minded, perhaps even when you’re taking a package holiday to the Canary islands. Whatever works, should be grasped. If it’s the sandy beach with the Finnish drink bar, so be it. As long as you’re a tiny bit more understanding and patient upon return.

Listening to the travel stories of colleagues this summer, I understood even better that I need to take a week or two off in the winter. Spare time is valuable (I had practically no holiday this summer).

So my June, July and early August were spent working, dreaming and reminiscing. I’ve done a road trip in Laos, swam with monkeys in Nicaragua, sailed on the beautiful Douro river in Portugal, climbed up the temples of Tikal (in office clothes), danced myself to trance in Berlin and Lisbon, enjoyed the best ever smoked cheese in Kraków, spent some time with hippies in Northern Spain, received intimate proposals in Paris and walked the dusty streets of Dushanbe.

And I’ve loved it. Not because of the fine photos, ghastly souvenirs or exotic food, but for the stories and experiences.

The incident in Paris still makes me smile, I’ve not forgotten the taste of Port wine bought directly from the estate, or the incident with armed men and police in the night bus in Guatemala.

Am I a better person then, after the travels? I think so. But referring to an earlier posting, how does one know? Perhaps we never will, and have to deal with the gut feeling. My hunch is yes.

♣ In the meantime: I’m trying to ignore the fact the a very fine set of live music is available in Helsinki this weekend in the Flow festival. I would’ve liked to see Röyksopp, Hercules and Love AffairReino and the Rhinos.

♥ Song of the day: Bonnie Raitt, Can’t find my way home (check out the new album The Lost Broadcast: Philadelphia 1972. It’s fantastic.)

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