Monthly Archives: April 2011
Seeing Things For Yourself: Another Reason To Travel
I told him I was American and his face lit up.
He said he had been to American many years ago as part of a musical group he was a member of. They toured the midwest playing Czech music in cities like Minneapolis, Sioux Falls, Omaha, Milwaukee and Chicago. He was excited to tell me about how much he enjoyed America and how well he was treated by Americans.
He also went out of his way to tell me how much Americans were different from what the Communists told him. He offered to help me if I needed anything while I was in Budweis as a token of thanks for the kindness he received in America.
There is a lesson about traveling that I took away from the old Czech man on the bike:
You have to see things yourself. What he had been told about Americans by his government he had seen with his own eyes to be wrong. I’ve experience the same thing in the Middle East meeting Arabs. You can’t rely on what people in positions of authority tell you about the rest of the world. You have to see it for yourself and odds are what you see will not be the same was what you were told.
This is just one of the many reasons why you need to travel.
I have no idea what happened during that man’s trip to America, but whatever happened lead to him treating me nice in a random encounter in a Czech town square years later. I’m glad he was able to visit my country and I’m glad I was able to visit his.
Dealing With The Unexpected While Traveling
Over the course of the last four years, only a small fraction of the things which happen to me end up on my website. Most either don’t merit a mention or sometimes I forget to write about it.
Today something happened that I didn’t think twice about when it occurred. They were simple enough events but are the sort of things that petrify some people and keeps them from traveling.
My goal today was very simple: I was going to get on the train in the Czech city of Ceské Budejovice (Budwise) and go to Vienna. I would have to make one train switch near the border, but that was it. It should be pretty easy considering there is no border control you have to pass through. (more…)