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Does Travel REALLY Make People Interesting?
Old 04-26-2013, 07:50 AM   #1
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Does Travel REALLY Make People Interesting?

On a cooking blog, the writer posted a question about what makes people interesting. Everyone mentioned travel and proceeded to list what places/countries they have been to.

I understand that people find it interesting to travel. But does it really make them interesting? Especially nowadays with globalization and Americanization/Westernization, is it really such a life-altering experience?

I've not really known anyone who came back really thinking or behaving differently after they traveled somewhere. My father-in-law would perseverate on a country after he had visited there, like only drinking Australian wine for a few months after returning from a few weeks there. But that was just an affectation and not anything substantial.

If travel really makes people interesting, why do the majority of us not find their travel stories/photos/videos interesting?

Curious as to what y'all think...
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:54 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangomonster View Post
On a cooking blog, the writer posted a question about what makes people interesting. Everyone mentioned travel and proceeded to list what places/countries they have been to.

I understand that people find it interesting to travel. But does it really make them interesting? Especially nowadays with globalization and Americanization/Westernization, is it really such a life-altering experience?

I've not really known anyone who came back really thinking or behaving differently after they traveled somewhere. My father-in-law would perseverate on a country after he had visited there, like only drinking Australian wine for a few months after returning from a few weeks there. But that was just an affectation and not anything substantial.

If travel really makes people interesting, why do the majority of us not find their travel stories/photos/videos interesting?

Curious as to what y'all think...
I went to India for almost a month 10 years ago and Mainland China a few times over the last 20 years. There were life changing experiences. The stories I was able to take from those trips were changed my perspectives on concepts of history, politics, economics and what it means to go through change. It also gave me a lot of fun stories to share with friends.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:59 AM   #3
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I think that LIVING in another place contributes to being interesting, as well as having interesting experiences. Passing through a place doesn't necessarily do much/influence a person much, whereas being enveloped in a place for a time is more likely to. interesting experiences may make a person more interesting and CAN result from travel, but living in a hotel or a resort in a foreign country won't get you there.

Backpacking may make people more interesting not for the places they have been, but because they are exposed to lots of new and different experiences that way rather than being sheltered from the new and different. You can find interesting experiences where you live, but people get into a rut often and don't, or only have time when they are on vacation, which is when they are travelling, and therefore having those experiences.

Travel itself is correlated, but probably not a cause of being interesting - experiences are.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:05 AM   #4
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Some people do interesting things, and other people are just plain interesting, regardless of what they do. I always found really interesting people to have excellent communication skills.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:12 AM   #5
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:15 AM   #6
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The people most cited as interesting are good LISTENERS.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:20 AM   #7
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The most interesting people are the ones who find YOU interesting

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The people most cited as interesting are good LISTENERS.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:31 AM   #8
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I'm not sure if there is a causal link between traveling and making one interesting. But empirically I observe that there is a positive correlation between how interesting one is and whether one travels (or is interested in traveling). Dunno why. Sense of exploration or curiosity? Openness to new experiences and cultures? Extroversion? Intellectual interest in learning of new places, people, food and languages?

I do usually find other people's travel tales and pics interesting. Unless it is 100 pictures of some quotidian tourist landmark (Eiffel tower, leaning tower of Pisa, etc). Travel tales from others give me ideas of where to go (or not go), what to do, etc. And allow me to vacation vicariously through others.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:34 AM   #9
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I guess it just gives people more interesting stories to tell. Boyfriend and I travel up and down the east coast on the regular, leaving the city at least once a month, but don't plan on leaving the country for a while until 2014, unless something comes up, as it always does.

I wouldn't say I'm very interesting, but people always ask about our travel last month. The rest of my life is sitting in a little armchair with Boyfriend and working or playing at home, because we aren't very social creatures, so maybe that's it, but they always want to hear about us packing up the car and hitting the road.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:49 AM   #10
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If you can apply your travel experiences to the way you think about life then that could be an interesting result of traveling. I would say that globalization and the internet don't necessarily give you a complete picture of the rest of the world. It depends on where you visit but the rest of the world is not the same as here just because of globalization. It's sort of true if you go to Disneyland in Japan or France or go mall shopping in a major foreign city. I think you can get something out of a short vacation if you're goal is to do and see different things, possibly outside your comfort zone.

I know someone who will only travel if he knows someone he can visit on the other end. He is not really traveling to see or do different things, he is traveling to visit friends and family. Those kind of vacation stories can be boring.

The internet and other media can contribute to knowledge of the world but you are always seeing it through someone else's lens. We are each unique so if we go to see the world for ourselves we will experience it differently. That can be interesting.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:05 AM   #11
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I'm not really sure it makes people more interesting. My DH has traveled quite a bit and I have not. If you get us in a room together I'm not sure it's obvious to an onlooker who is the seasoned traveler. Our sense of humor, values and goals are pretty similar.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:13 AM   #12
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My experience is that it's not the traveling that changes you, but what you do when you are there. Truly "experiencing" other cultures is what I have found enlightening. Public transportation is a great start to that. Not sure that makes me more interesting tho :-)
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:28 AM   #13
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I've found that the types of people who are willing to leave their home and comfort zone and go explore new places, experience new cultures, and interact with new people seem to be the most interesting. The ones who simply take a cruise or a guided trip, less so.

I also know people who don't travel but are interesting nonetheless, simply because they have interests and they may either get out and do things locally or learn, read, and think about things.

People who solely sit at home and watch TV typically seem to be less interesting to me.

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Old 04-26-2013, 11:37 AM   #14
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Probably many interesting people travel. Were they interesting before they did the travel?

If you are curious, most people are interesting. If they are not interesting to you, maybe you have a problem?

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Old 04-26-2013, 11:40 AM   #15
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I went to India for almost a month 10 years ago and Mainland China a few times over the last 20 years. There were life changing experiences. The stories I was able to take from those trips were changed my perspectives on concepts of history, politics, economics and what it means to go through change.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:35 PM   #16
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Not unless they come home with new ideas. If they just have a bunch of stories about how beautiful X or Y was, no, who cares.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:58 PM   #17
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I've traveled a LOT. All 50 states, 12 foreign countries, and a total of well over five years actually living in other countries. I don't consider myself especially interesting (but I have a lot of great stories!).
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:21 PM   #18
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I appreciate all your replies...and actually see the validity in each and every one. So maybe the takeaway is that travel of a certain kind can make already interesting people more interesting...but that someone can be inherently interesting without traveling (I hope that's me because I haven't traveled in years) and that some travel isn't all that "interesting" (like omni pointed out, a cruise or guided trip).

My FIL was a very frequent traveler to exotic places, some of which he didn't actually appear to enjoy, like a very rustic barge trip in Brazil. He would choose places that few other people had been to rather than a place that really was appealing to him. And this seemed to be an ego trip. After he got back from Myanmar (Burma), he showed us a video that had been made of this trip. The self-appointed group leader (on an even bigger ego trip) remarked that they were "travelers, not tourists." Really? Myanmar is very restricted. The government determines what can be seen. There isn't free access. They were on a canned Smithsonian tour! Yes, they got to see some things like a Burmese wedding, but they weren't invited because they had befriended some locals. It was part of their tour and the couple were paid to allow their attendance. And i didn't see a change in his behavior/thinking, other than his insisting on wearing a lungi (a long skirt-like garment that men wear there, traditionally) and almost breaking his neck tripping up the stairs!

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. 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.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:41 PM   #19
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I prefer domestic travel - thrive on constant change. So I would say I travel to keep interested, not interesting.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:54 PM   #20
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He would choose places that few other people had been to rather than a place that really was appealing to him. And this seemed to be an ego trip. After he got back from Myanmar (Burma), he showed us a video that had been made of this trip. The self-appointed group leader (on an even bigger ego trip) remarked that they were "travelers, not tourists."
Reminds me of the shows on HGTV of the houses of the mega rich. The owner is always in there insisting that "no one else has this" (usually some hand crafted, salvaged from an old church in europe and/or engineering marvel). We all find things to stroke our egos.
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