Been There!

I had two comments thrown at me this past week that have given me much cause for thought.  Not rude or unkind comments.  Not at all.  But comments suspiciously close to some that I may well have made in the past…. Unthinking, and most definitely, ignorant.  What in part has caused my consternation is neither of the people who made these comments is uneducated or un-traveled. If anything, the opposite.  So what were they?  And why might I have had those same thoughts?
The first was in relation to my enthusiastic telling of our recent trip to Jamaica.  “Oh, we’ve been there and we didn’t much care for it.”  Was the response.  I replied, “Where did you go and when was that?” “On our honeymoon, in the late 70’s and we went to Montego Bay and tried to hire a car…. They were most unfriendly!”
The second comment, or series of comments, came as I was trying to help a client plan a trip to Europe.  As I listed several countries I thought they might enjoy visiting, the reply was most often “I’ve been there” and implied was the thought that to go again would be at best boring and at worst, a waste!
Life where I live doesn’t stand still and while I know that there are places where time does seem to move slower, I seriously doubt that things have not changed in these countries around the world.  Politics change, economics change, villages disappear, cities grow, even the seasons and geography change!  Not least, one’s own perspective and circumstances change.  Time to look again at those places you visited so long ago.
As for “been there-done that” approach to traveling…. That is about as much like corresponding via Facebook is to a hand written letter or like a smorgasbord is to a 5-course candlelit meal served by a white-gloved waiter!  Of course, there is some value to having “tasted” a country, hit the high-spots and have the photos to prove it, (especially when it comes to being one up on the neighbors) but I would suggest that now it is time to try a different kind of vacation in that country.  From my own experience, I grew up in one of the most exciting tropical safari destinations in the world and even though we took many opportunities to enjoy our own country, there remain places that I have yet to explore.  And many I long to return to!
Fortunately, I have other clients who have a different approach to their traveling.  They are the ones who see with their hearts as well as their eyes.  Whose ears listen for deeper sounds and who use more than one sense to taste and experience.  Like one, who on a second trip to Africa, looking forward to seeing the Big 5 again, suddenly became aware of the vibrancy and variety of birdlife all around.  She eschewed the enormous elephant in favor of the little bee-eater and has returned an avid bird watcher! Now she’s saving for a more powerful camera and better binoculars and of course, the next trip!

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