“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
-Mark Twain (The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It)Rites of passage…we don’t have those anymore. We discourage them. We’re actually *afraid* we will alter somebody’s narrow perception of themselves and the world, somehow equating “ego” with “understanding”. We somehow think 12 years of carefully metered out and censored mandatory education in a local area is all it takes to enable somebody to understand what’s out there and how it works.
We *see* the results…and still think we can raise barely literate, functionally ignorant sociopaths, carefully avoid any possibility of influencing or encouraging them to go beyond the local and mundane, and then try to legislate morality and charity upon their brows when society isn’t working so well.
We are ridiculously wrong. The successful ones make it *despite* the system, not because of it.
Rites of passage. I’m thinking ya shouldn’t be able to graduate high-school unless you plan, and execute at the minimum, a cross-country road trip. Preferably even more. Epic journeys.
And I know…there’s those of you that think that would be too expensive. Yeah, well, I just got my tax bills from two different school districts I support (gasp-choke). The money’s there. Plenty of it. Obscene amounts of it…if we’d quit pissing it away doing pretty much anything but educating.
Oh, and then there’s the “it’s dangerous” crowd. Yeah, well, so’s life…and I can tell you…there’s nothing more dangerous than a man without a dream…without a soul…and travel is often the beginning of acquiring those things…or at least…learning that they exist. You have to know what’s out there in the world…to reach for it.
Buy the ticket. Take the ride.