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Old 04-26-2013, 05:01 PM   #21
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Traveling can, but not necessarily does, help people gain a more multidimensional personality, which I find interesting. If you travel to Paris and eat at McD, have coffee at Starbucks, and shop at the Gap on the Champs Elysées, then you are not becoming more interesting to me. Quite the reverse actually. If you backpack through India over the summer, then I think you probably deserve my ear.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:11 PM   #22
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...........
I guess the truth is that I'm not a great traveler. It tires me. I feel isolated (DH isn't a great talker, so it's kind of limiting when we go somewhere where we can't speak the language---not anyone else to talk to). I feel like I spent too much money. Can't sleep well. And I hate not eating my own cooking for a week (makes it difficult to be a whole foods vegan).

But fortunately, I don't feel like I need to travel since I'm always doing interesting things locally........... .
Sounds like you shouldn't travel. Is someone pressuring to do so?
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:25 PM   #23
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Have no idea whether travel makes one interesting, it gives you something to talk about but then you can become a real bore. I will say that while traveling to places like Paris and London were interesting and fun for me, traveling to places like Guatemala, Mali, Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana actually impacted me in ways that are hard to describe. Certainly made me appreciate my way of living more and made me conclude that a lot of Americans don't have a clue how good they have it.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:11 PM   #24
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...If you travel to Paris and eat at McD, have coffee at Starbucks, and shop at the Gap on the Champs Elysées, then you are not becoming more interesting to me. Quite the reverse actually. If you backpack through India over the summer, then I think you probably deserve my ear.
We did some Starbucks in Paris. Good for a quick cheap break. It's OK to be a foreigner and occasionally seek out a US centric experience. The people who worked at Starbucks were just as French as the waiters in the cafes.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:19 PM   #25
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My neighbors traveled a ton, because they were military. But they were honestly the least interesting people I've met in my life. They were completely self-absorbed and had nothing to contribute to a conversation. So I don't think travel makes you interesting. BUT that being said, travel is high on our retirement priority list. We're optimistically waiting for the day when we can see how other cultures/people live. The western/american lifestyle doesn't really "fit" with our mentality.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:30 PM   #26
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But fortunately, I don't feel like I need to travel since I'm always doing interesting things locally. In May, will be attending a jazz concert, a jazz festival, an arts festival, two tours of new local parks, an outdoor movie, two hikes, a chamber music concert, starting tai chi classes, an afternoon where the streets of the city are closed and you walk/bike along and stop to do various physical activities. That's in addition to the daily two classes at the gym daily (Zumba, yoga, pilates, step, kick boxing, weights, water aerobics), lots of cooking, reading, watching foreign films (okay, I'm an armchair traveler), socializing, etc. If I should ever get bored locally and I become less tight with our money, then maybe I will consider it. In the meantime, if people write me off as being uninteresting because I don't travel, so be it.
tangomonster,

To me you sound like an interesting person simply from the things you enjoy and partake of.

omni
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:41 PM   #27
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Good grief. People who travel, travel because they like to travel. Most don't give a rats bottom what others think of them. Pretty much sounds like sour grapes. Really, if you don't like to travel stay home.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:41 PM   #28
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Several above have alluded to the fact that travel itself is not interesting, it's the local culture, etc that the traveler experiences and then conveys to others that makes the traveler interesting. We've been to some interesting places, but it seems like people enjoy hearing our experiences where we have connected with the locals.

My niece and her husband travel a lot. But I was intrigued last week with her story of her visit to a nautical shop in Florida where the owner sold nautical artifacts from all over the globe. She told us of her chat with the shop owner where he described how he travels in search of these artifacts, and how he buys them, gets them back to the US, and the people he sells them to. It's travel stories like these that I find interesting.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:47 PM   #29
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I don't think travel makes people more interesting, but I do think that having a wide variety of experiences in their lives, including (more than superficial) exposures to other cultures can make a person much more interesting.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:23 PM   #30
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I served in the Navy for four years in the mid seventies and traveled quite a bit overseas. After marriage we traveled to Europe a number of times, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Ireland. I think travel made me interested in how others live, their cuisine, their music, their politics, customs...etc., how they see the world and how they view the US. I don't know if that experience makes me a more interesting person but I think it's made me somewhat more informed.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:39 PM   #31
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Sounds like you shouldn't travel. Is someone pressuring to do so?
Kind of. When people find out we are retired, the immediate question is "So do you travel a lot?", followed by surprise/disappointment that we don't. And I've actually had friends who say they could never be interested in a potential romantic partner who hasn't traveled a lot.

I can usually beg out of travel by telling people that our retirement is completely self-financed without pensions (and no SS yet) and that we are paying $1700 a month for health insurance. But I am getting to the point where I feel comfortable telling people I just don't care to travel...but I do love learning about/experiencing other cultures through reading, watching foreign films, attending ethnic festivals, interacting with people from all over (my community and gym is very diverse), going to ethnic restaurants, etc.
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:15 AM   #32
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......... But I am getting to the point where I feel comfortable telling people I just don't care to travel.........
For me, one of the most liberating things about FIRE is the ability to ignore other people's expectations. (DW excepted, of course). In fact, as I perfect my curmudgeon status, I almost enjoy telling people that I don't particularly care what anyone thinks. YMMV
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:30 AM   #33
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For me, one of the most liberating things about FIRE is the ability to ignore other people's expectations. (DW excepted, of course). In fact, as I perfect my curmudgeon status, I almost enjoy telling people that I don't particularly care what anyone thinks. YMMV
You are absolutely right! It is incredibly liberating to not have to live up to other people's expectations (usually they are way too confining/unhealthy/
boring/not fun/uncomfortable). When I worked, I had to try (usually unsuccessfully) to fit in. Now I understand the difference between fitting in and belonging. Still on the quest for the latter. I feel a sense of belonging while still being me at the gym (of all places!) and in some of my Meetup groups.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:13 AM   #34
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Kind of. When people find out we are retired, the immediate question is "So do you travel a lot?", followed by surprise/disappointment that we don't. And I've actually had friends who say they could never be interested in a potential romantic partner who hasn't traveled a lot.

I can usually beg out of travel by telling people that our retirement is completely self-financed without pensions (and no SS yet) and that we are paying $1700 a month for health insurance. But I am getting to the point where I feel comfortable telling people I just don't care to travel...but I do love learning about/experiencing other cultures through reading, watching foreign films, attending ethnic festivals, interacting with people from all over (my community and gym is very diverse), going to ethnic restaurants, etc.
Don't worry Tangomonster. When I retired, we started traveling immediately, so people wondered where we had been. A few expressed disappointment that we hadn't already been to Africa on safari during our first few months. People have their own fantasies of what they would do once retired, and are disappointed when folks don't live their dream right away.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:55 AM   #35
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... When people find out we are retired, the immediate question is "So do you travel a lot?", followed by surprise/disappointment that we don't.

.... But I am getting to the point where I feel comfortable telling people I just don't care to travel...
You shouldn't feel that you have to make excuses for your choices, just explain your preferences and let it go. We are not all cookie-cutter, travel (or fill-in-the-blank) isn't for everyone.

As far as the original question, I'd say it's a double edged sword. Some people can bore you with their travel stories, so travel makes them boring. If the travel brings some insights that they are good at communicating, it can be very interesting.

But certainly the implied converse is not true - that if you don't travel you must be boring. There are many things outside of travel that are interesting. And I bet that some people who study an area or civilization in depth through reading, films, or some in-depth conversations with people from that region could provide more interesting insights than the traveler who saw the tourist sights and never went any deeper.

A couple things I like to ask interesting travelers, and think about myself on my limited travels are:

1) What did you observe that was very different from what you expected (it doesn't have to be a 'big' thing, just some funny little thing is interesting to me).

2) What did you observe that you didn't expect, it wasn't mentioned in any guide or from other travelers (again, could be some small detail)?

3 What did you expect to observe, but didn't (some stereo-type that just didn't pan out)? This might overlap with #1

4) What did you think you would never see, but did?

On a business trip to Korea, two things like that stick out for me. One was that teenage girls would walk hand-in-hand or arms around each other as they walked around the city. As one of the locals explained 'It's not what you think - it is just friendly'. Just different from what you would see here, and nobody ever mentioned it to me.

I had heard a lot about the food (seems people either love it or hate it - I loved it). There are many shared side dishes with the meal - but what I wasn't prepared for was all the 'double-dipping'. Everyone's chopsticks went from mouth to shared dish to mouth to next shared dish. I'm with George Constanza on this, so I just had to grit my teeth and take the "when in Rome..." approach.

In Budapest, a local started a conversation with us on the bus when he heard us speaking English (he spoke a little English). When we said we were from the Chicago area, he said "Oh, Al Capone!". Cracked me up - I know it's a stereo-type that people associate Chicago and Al Capone, I was surprised to actually hear it in these times (though this guy was probably in his 60's).

I hope I didn't bore you with that little story

-ERD50
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:56 AM   #36
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Both my wife and I lover to travel; we have been to all seven continents in last seven years. We have lived overseas both in Asia and Europe. Are we more interesting people; not necessarily. If we are interesting to listen to; it is just because the listener also shares a love of travel. Regardless, we travel because WE find travel interesting.

Marc
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:00 PM   #37
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For some reason this thread reminds me of the refrain from Clint Black's song: "Wherever You Go"

"Wherever you go there you are
You can run from yourself but you won't get far
You can dive to the bottom of your medicine jar
But wherever you go there you are"
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:20 PM   #38
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I suppose if one only stays in big American branded hotels, eats only at restaurants with a big English menu posted outside, mainly talks to fellow Americans overseas, and avoids unnecessary contact with the natives, travel won't change her much.
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:30 PM   #39
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Who would you rather have known-Wallace Simpson, or William Faulkner? One hardly ever stopped traveling, the other left Oxford Mississippi once, to go to Hollywood. He hated it, and quickly returned.

Nobody gives a whit about your travel experiences, unless you are female and you slept with 2/3 of the men you met, or you are a jewel thief or a Casanova Con Artist. Otherwise, a story about your most recent rabbit hunt is usually more interesting. As is often the case the most interesting things are either disreputable or illegal.

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Old 04-27-2013, 07:57 PM   #40
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Well, yeah, Chuckanut, it always cracks me up when people travel and seek out places like Hard Rock Cafe (yes, I know people collect the T-shirts---again I never got that showing off about places you've been) or Friday's.

ERD, your stories were fun because it was about your quirky experiences and observations, not your ego (that self-congratulatory thing). And I share your enjoyment of Korean food! (Even though I live in Atlanta, we surprisingly have a large Korean community, so I get to be immersed in the culture, especially the food, without jet lag).

I was amused today at an outdoor festival to see a T-shirt that said "My life is better than your vacation." Again, kind of snarky and full of ego, but I can at least think it if someone is being too overly sympathetic/horrified about my lack of travel. sadly, Mark Twain, whom I admire, would be one of those people, with his quote:

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.”

But again, I question whether that holds as much nowadays as it did in his time.
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