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1. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

James Joyce had to leave a stagnant Ireland before he could write about it. He wrote his most famous works "Dubliners" and "Ulysses" while living "in exile" in Europe.

Has travelling the world broadened or deepened your understanding of your home country?

Have you returned less or more appreciative of where you come from?

Is it necessary to travel the world before you can really understand your place in it?

2. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

I think you understand your own misconceptions and cultural influences better when you see your own country from an objective outside view

3. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

Although I never like returning home because it means the end of my trip, there's something to be said about coming back to the place you know.

It's like taking off high heels (which are fun and adventurous - which mean you were out doing something special and significant) and putting on your old, worn slippers. Yes, the fun is then a memory behind you - but there's something special about the comforting, familiar feel of home. I always feel like I'm coming back to where I fit best.

Then again, I really love living here. That may be why, too...

4. Posted by angela_ (Respected Member 1732 posts) 11y

When I'm in big cities abroad I always feel a huge appreciation for the lack of crowds in Iceland.

5. Posted by leanneh (Budding Member 59 posts) 11y

not quite moving abroad but i moved to London not long after finishing university and whilst i had a great time - moving back home to glasgow i could really appreciate all the things i used to take for granted. Im now much happier living here (even tho im about to set off round the world for a year!) - i know this is where i want to live and im happy with that. I still want to see other places all round the world but im happy to call this place home!

6. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 11y

I think you need some material for comparison to understand a judgement on your own culture........seeing different countries is the best option

7. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Traveling hasn't broadened or deepened my understanding of my home country - I've had a pretty clear understanding of it without leaving. But, it has broadened and deepened my understanding of how others view my country. I (we) have been able to view it from other eyes, which in turn, causes us to be a little more skeptical (of it) upon returning home. I wouldn't necessarily call that broadening, but maybe it is...

More appreciative? Most definitely. Most of my travels have taken me to more impoverished nations. (I don't want to classify them as third-world because I'm not sure what constitutes a second-world country, and I know I live in a first-world one.) And, though I have found places that I think I could relocate to, coming home always makes me appreciate the benefits I (we) are afforded here. We own our own home, my husband earns a good living, we live comfortably. Yes, we would like a better salary and to increase the comfort level, but the next trip usually puts things back in perspective. The US is a very easy place to live and the freedoms are many. In general, people just don't realize what they have until they see whole countries that are not as fortunate. We take hot showers for granted - other places in the world can't get fresh drinking water.

More often than not, whether you travel or not, understanding your place in the world is more than a physical journey. And even when you think you have found your place or think you understand your place - the world snaps it's proverbial fingers and poof - it's changed...

8. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 11y

[quote: In general, people just don't realize what they have until they see whole countries that are not as fortunate. We take hot showers for granted - other places in the world can't get fresh drinking water]

I totally agree with Isadora, after my travel trough India I realised how lucky we are to live in western countries.

9. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

Quoting isadora

Most of my travels have taken me to more impoverished nations. (I don't want to classify them as third-world because I'm not sure what constitutes a second-world country, and I know I live in a first-world one.)

That reminds me of a quip from last night's episode of The Amazing Race.

Says ex-US-Marine/POW upon landing in Jamaica and breathing in a big whiff: "Ah, the smell of a third-world country!"

Mind, that could be taken totally out of context and his girlfriend had been riding him pretty hard for weeks and weeks, so he may well have been at the breaking point. But I thought he was going to say "Ah, the smell of the ocean" and then almost swallowed my cracker-and-cheese whole instead.

10. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Quoting tway

Says ex-US-Marine/POW upon landing in Jamaica and breathing in a big whiff: "Ah, the smell of a third-world country!"

Honestly Tina, I understand what he meant though... I have been to Jamaica 12 times. Whether you land in Montego Bay or Kingston, not only do you get the scent of the ocean, but there is an underlying scent of (to put it nicely) "not so sanitary" conditions close by. That is not to say he should have made that correlation (and he probably had had it with his girlfriend), but there is some truth to the comment. (Sorry - never watched the program either.) Here too, Jamaica's economy is such that it would surely cause it to fall somewhere between 3rd and 2nd world countries.

Personally, I would love to live in Jamaica. But, that's a whole other story...