The irony of simulacra

“I travel.  I’ve been to lots of places via the Travel Channel.”  Oh, how I cringe when I hear phrases such as this.

While the travel channel, and discovery channel are great educational tools, they should not be used as a shield from experiencing the real world.  People ask all the time, why travel? What is the point?  There are TV shows, National Geographic and other magazines, and a cornucopia of websites and travel blogs online that are just as good as the real thing.  The real question is, are they?

I find it hard to believe that taking a surf lesson for the first time off the coast of Costa Rica, is the same as watching videos of surfers on Youtube.  I find it hard to believe that you can get the same rush of adrenaline by watching a group of amateurs canyon down a waterfall.  I find it extremely hard to believe that I can taste a delicious gelato in the heart of Venice by watching someone eat one on TV.  There is absolutely no comparison.

Last season, shark week on the Discovery channel attracted more than 26 million viewers.  Why only watch shark week on TV, when you can swim with the sharks yourself in real life?  And if you’re afraid, there are always dolphins.

There are several excuses like money, and time, but the television should not be one of them.  Living your life vicariously through television is only the essence of a lived life: empty and not fulfilling.   People have been conditioned to think that travel is unimportant compared to a million other things available to do, like watch Television.  As opposed to popular belief and pop culture brain wash; travel is probably one of the most rewarding experiences in terms of learning about people, learning about the world, and most importantly learning about yourself.  I don’t mean everyone needs to pack up and jet set Europe for two weeks, but to simply pick a destination and go. Even if only just once.

“Don’t wait until you have time to vacation, make the time to take a vacation.”

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