How messed up is the world? Are people growing colder to forgein travelers? Here are some observations from, Ted Simon, a seasoned traveler.
Ted Simon spoke at the Overland Expo this weekend to inspire people to “just go” and see the world. It’s a common theme at the expo, and Ted is an authority figure given his travel resume . A foundation has sprung up in his name to promote the spirit of travel that his books capture. The incredibly humble Ted always made sure to mention it wasn’t his idea and that he never thinks too highly of anyone who erects a statue (virtual in this case) of themselves within their lifetime. His stories and words of wisdom never let me down. Sometimes you’re not quite sure what he’s getting at until he brings it all together in a way you never saw coming. His thoughts on the current state of the world did leave me a little bothered though.
Having traveled around the world for four years in 1973 and repeating the route in 2001 Ted has a unique insight. He candidly refers to the world as a “mess.” He recalls a change he found consistent across all continents. In 1970 people he met were friendly, kind and welcoming. Thirty years later the reception from strangers was still friendly, kind and welcoming but always followed with questions like: “What do you want?” or “What are you doing here?” Suspicion seems to be growing, and perhaps globalism is blame. A world more interconnected can bring about incredibly beautiful things, but there’s no filter against the ugly things too.
Is Ted turning into a curmudgeon in his old age, or is there some truth to how messed up things are?
I’ve only had one big journey and it wasn’t as lengthy as Ted’s, but I came away with a great deal of optimism about people and the world. I thought the world was a mess before I left for Latin America, so maybe it was easy for my perceptions to make a positive shift from by the warmth I experienced from people.
Perhaps I am exaggerating his commentary on the current state of affairs. I try and think about all the ways he is right and all the ways I could be mistaken. Ted deserves the benefit of the doubt with his experience, but it still bothers me. He still urges people to go out into the world, but I get the feeling that it is in need of saving along with exploring.
Never mind corporations, politics and pretty much anything involving large sums of money. These things are expected to have turmoil.
What about the culture from country to country?
What about the stranger you meet in a distant land?
Is suspicion brewing everywhere?
Is the warmth of the world fading?
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