Tourism, why?

Why do we goto places like Arizona for vacation. There really isn’t anything there. To be honest most of the United States isn’t worth very much visually or culturally. I know somebody can make a great argument for Arizona or really most other states in the US, but bear with me.  Seriously, Costa Rica, St. Marten? A palm tree and hammock can be found anywhere.

The US was recognized in 1776. The idiot Columbus got here in around 1492. In 1625 we had a population of 1,980 people. What amazing things had happened in the rest of the world centuries before? Well, over 100 year before the successful population of the US by Europeans, the Incan’s built Machu Picchu. Incan’s sucessfully implemented brain surgery, founded astrology, and many other things. The Spanish had guns. Good work. My point is, what is there to see after 300 hundred years of work? More so, why do we want to see things that have been here for 50 years rather than things that define our culture. There are places in the world where you can see an invention that made modern life possible. You can visit the birth place of language, and some of the greatest monuments to the human will, but we goto Chicago for deep dish pizza.

My point is, people of the United States, we waste our time traveling to places that add no real value to life. We travel for cheese steaks, hamburgers, political rallies, and concerts, but we don’t travel nearly enough for great works of art, fallen civilizations, ancient cultural displays, and spectacular geographical vignettes. Yeah there is some value in modern cultural events, but seriously, I’d goto Machu Picchu or Lake O’Hara in Canada 1000 times before I’d go see a Presidential Inauguration. Plus, which would be more money? Which would change your life.

Yoho National Park - Lake O'Hara

I realize some people live for these things in the United States, but I guess all that this is about is: for me, what really gets me going, are things that you can’t put a price on. Things that have stood the test of time. Things that you sit at, look at, and wonder how the hell did this happen? How would the world be different if this civilization lived on? Why the hell is our world dominated by weapons, and not by knowledge.

Yeah the United States has some tourist worthy stuff. The big cities like New York, Chicago, and SF are worth going to. Places like the Grand Canyon and Denali are breathtaking, but for every one of those we have here in the United States you can name twelve that are more remote, more special, and probably just as breath-taking as the above.

Technology is great and all, but it’s not much to see when you live your life surrounded by it every second.

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5 Responses to Tourism, why?

  1. tangotillyouresore says:

    Financially, for me it made sense to travel the states while in college. It can be done for a lot cheaper than the airfare alone of an international trip. Something like the Inauguration of our countries first black president made sense to check out considering it’s a 6 hour drive away and can be done on the cheap.

    I’ve roadtripped across the states many times and loved it. Sure, our country is young and may seem bleak when comparing to an ancient civilization – but I don’t think that the enjoyment of travel can be measured by wherever it is your at or whatever it is you’re snapping photos of.

    I have plans to improve the exotica of my travels, but understand that this will happen now, when I’m 25, established, and have the funding to do so.

    I’ve seen most of the states in the union at a young age and wouldn’t trade my travels to them for anything. I’m glad them out of the way, my future travels will hopefully offer much more, but will be tough to compete with the mindset of of being 21 and roadtripping across the desert and abandoned highway towns on the cheap. It’s not all cheesesteaks and refrigerator magnets – there’s plenty to see and do, in some of the national parks alone.

    • tangotillyouresore says:

      EDIT: but I don’t think that the enjoyment of travel can be measured by how old wherever it is your‘re at or whatever it is you’re snapping photos of.

  2. Eric says:

    I agree. Those listed are the obvious holes in my argument, and also points that I would have addressed if I were a better writer.

    My point is (not so much in your case), broaden your horizon’s. American’s seem to think that the zenith of the vacation world is a beach off some Caribbean island. To me that is just lame, and a waste of money. I can drive to Lake Erie in June and partially the same thing. If I want “blue water” I can go to Florida I guess.

    It’s a good point that you brought up the oldness point. I hadn’t see that my argument was dependent on this. Yeah, the age of what I’m seeing is huge for me. Things that stand the test of time or have some amazing attribute really get me exited.

    I get that people want to go to Chicago for a deep dish pizza, but I will do that in a weekend. Those week vacations are for the more “epic” adventures. And you remind me of a good point, road trips are a amazing use of a vacation. You can see huge amounts of space across any continent in a shorter period of time.

    Ultimately, my frustration is with the limited focus of the American vacationer. See something that will change your life, not something that is just a beach you can relax at. Most amazing places are in amazing places. Breath-taking things are usually quite liberating, and I’ll take liberating over reading a book on a beach in San Juan (i.e. relaxing).

    And with all idealism, there is a catch or a contingency that usually lends them to be more unrealistic and thusly ideal, and that, in this case, is cash. It unfortunately costs money to do things that are fun. Go figure.

    • Eric says:

      Additionally I retract the implicit condescension of my second sentence. I was unintentional.

    • tangotillyouresore says:

      I agree with the post 100%, I just thought I’d take a moment and defend some US travel. I’m sadly untraveled in international destinations outside of Windsor, ON and Niagara Falls, Canada side. I long to get out there and see the world, and it’s been only recently where I’ve begun to plan .

      Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding is an amazing book and I wish I had read it years ago. It discusses long term travel on the cheap and how everyone should be doing it. I think you would enjoy it: http://www.vagabonding.net/

      This is a good post, I like it a lot. You need to blog more often.

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