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Is my travel lens wrong


On a lazy Sunday morning, I was working my way through some podcasts as I drank coffee and zoned out a bit here and there. I was listening to an On Being interview with Irish poet Michael Longley. Much of the interview was insightful and made me laugh at a few points despite heavy subjects like "The Troubles", the 30 year war between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.

But as they moved through the interview, they ended up discussing a place that Longley has visited for much of his life. Tippett posed to him, "I want to ask you also about the mystery of place. And so, Carrigskeewaun is a cottage in County Mayo that you and your wife and family have gone back to it, I believe, for over many years. And you said something wonderful about the beauty of going back to the same place over and over again, that you notice more and more. It’s not that you exhaust a place; that you go more deeply into it.

Longley's reply went as such, “'Travel broadens the mind.' We do quite a bit of traveling. But I think it also shallows the mind. But going back to the same place in a devoted way and in a curious way is a huge part of my life." For me, the idea that returning to a place allows you to see and understand more of it isn't a major epiphany but I would say that seeking out the new experiences over the familiar would describe much how I've thought about travel.

Where does the balance lie between seeing a brand new place to be confronted with things that are completely foreign vs going deeper in a place you already know but learning something you hadn't yet realized. There clearly is not answer and one shouldn't write off one type of travel vs the other. But it does make me want to question future travel. Will I seek out something new or will I seek to discover something I've yet to notice about another?

Go Forth Boldly

As a fun aside, this Atlantic piece from a couple years back is a great one about seeing real India vs. tourist India.


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