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Should Americans travel more?

Travel Forums General Talk Should Americans travel more?

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1. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

Do you think the world would be a better place if we got to know each other a bit better?

If so, perhaps you'd be interested in signing the petition at Lonely Planet to support NATIONAL PASSPORT MONTH.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/passport/petition.cfm

The resolution for National Passport Month, supported by 50 representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties, supports the creation of a National Passport Month to "signal to Americans the important role they can play as ambassadors for the United States by serving as agents of understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect."

They are proposing the month of September "to educate the public about the importance of having a passport and the positive impact international travel has on individuals."

Greg

2. Posted by Peter (Admin 5807 posts) 10y

I think it's a pretty good initiative.

Quoting Lonely Planet

The goal of National Passport Month is to spread the word about the importance of travel and the positive life-changing effect it can have on individuals, our nation and the world. Our hope is that each September, more and more people will get involved in National Passport Month - helping significantly increase the number of Americans with passports over time.

It makes it sound like Americans are the only ones who need to travel. I find this kind of insulting / irritating. I read the following between the lines:

1) Americans are the only ones worth convincing / the only ones who need convincing.
2) The world should unite to help poor old America.

Bear in mind, this is promoted prominently on their international site, which consists of a large number of non-US visitors.

Nonetheless, kudos to them for getting something like this up and running! The principles of it are good.

I just wish it wasn't another one of those 'only for Americans' things. That only serves to encourage the belief that the US is the center of the universe.

3. Posted by vampyren (Budding Member 39 posts) 10y

I largely agree with Peter though I confess I'm writing this without looking at the link page...... largely because I can't be bothered. Yes, I think the world would be a better place if EVERYONE in all countries either travelled more OR, for those who are sadly not in a position to travel, be granted some kind of access to the world. This could be via the net or whatever. Many of the world's poor should be helped to get access to the world at least via information... even if it means setting up 1 computer per village in remote areas. But then in that way, they could "travel".....

As for those of us who ARE priviliged enough to drift off like I did.... Yes, more people should do it..AS LONG AS they go with open minds. I used to notice something about a fair number of Brits abroad.... With hand on heart I can say I went away assuming the world had something to teach me... I'm afraid there are those who go thinking they have something to teach the world and insist on trying to do it. I think a lot of the world perceive americans to have the latter approach to travel. Its sad, because its not true of all americans any more than its true of all Brits or anyone.

But yes, we should all travel / learn about the world. We need to arrive in a place with as few pre-conceptions as possible and allow ourselves to be open to absorption. Certain things in any and all cultures, will appeal to our psyche in some way. If we let that "cutlural osmosis" occur INTO us as well as FROM us, we can only enrich our lives, increase our understanding and lead to greater peace.

But this attitude has to be encouraged before we reach travelling age (assuming we don't go with our parents). Schools have to promote the attitude of curiosity... curiosity with respect. ( I have never found anyone in any culture respond negatively to sincere questions about their ways). Never mind if Americans should travel more... Perhaps the question should be wether TEACHERS should travel more...

Right, that's enough waffle from me.... I have little to teach anyone anyway!!

Happy travels everyone... keep your eyes - and hearts - open

4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

Quoting Peter

It makes it sound like Americans are the only ones who need to travel. I find this kind of insulting / irritating. I read the following between the lines:

1) Americans are the only ones worth convincing / the only ones who need convincing.
2) The world should unite to help poor old America.

This is actually related to a proposal within the US government system. I suppose if you wanted, you could convince your member of parliament to submit a similar proposal in the Australian parliament, and then Lonely Planet might post it on their site too.

5. Posted by wotthefiqh (Inactive 1447 posts) 10y

Good God,
The idea of the Australian government encouraging young Aussies to travel abroad is far far too late.
Can't get moved for the buggers wherever you go!!!
Was in Arequipa, Peru March 2005 and my wife and I had booked a 3 day/2 night hike of Colca Canyon.
One guide and 4 trekkers.
A lovely girl from Toronto, my wife and I from Perth, Australia and a guy who lived 15 minutes from our house.

We don't want more Americans travelling overseas.
They are bloody hopeless bargaineers and ruin the challenge for all of us cheapskates.
I mean, what's the point of backpacking poverty-stricken 3rd world countries if you can't slash the hawker's profit to virtually nothing.

6. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member 458 posts) 10y

I agree very much with Peter, but knowing that Greg's post is refering to a US Government program, hold no offense to the post.
My answer to the question is absolutely yes, Americans should travel more. Not sure the rest of the traveling public would be so happy about that, but I would hope it would help open up some American eyes to the world beyond our own borders and our media, as it has with me.

But everytime one of these threads come up, I can't help but ask the question, why is this question always pointed at Americans? Why not, should people of Greenland travel more? Egyptians? Russians? Yeah, I realize there are some valid reasons why people should be concerned more about American attitudes towards the outside world, but I'm not sure a few extra travelers are going to help any of that in the shorterm.

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

That's a good point, John7Buck. And I have heard that Canada has a similarly low rate of passport penetration among it's population. I think everyone likes to pick on Americans, frankly.

Greg

9. Posted by ozman (Full Member 118 posts) 10y

Well that's what Septics are there for!

Seriously though, if you watch enough American TV or read enough books you could be forgiven for thinking that Americans have absolutely no perception of any country other than their own.

I just finished reading Stephen King's "Dark Tower" about this band of travellers who are transversing all these alternate universes; thing is that all these universes are firmly planted in the USA! Despite his wealth, I would bet that that author has never been outside his country in his life.

American ethnocentricism as conveyed through their media wouldn't be such an issue if american media were not so heavily exported overseas to the countries that they seem oblivious to.

10. Posted by Peter (Admin 5807 posts) 10y

Quoting GregW

This is actually related to a proposal within the US government system. I suppose if you wanted, you could convince your member of parliament to submit a similar proposal in the Australian parliament, and then Lonely Planet might post it on their site too.

True, but lonelyplanet.com is not a US-only website. When you follow their train of links, it takes a while to realise this is only for Americans (your way of linking it was far better Greg and if in that context it would not be a problem to me).

Their current front page intro reads: "Do something great for your country. Leave. Find out more about our Passport campaign".

It isn't until you click through and read the heading 'National Passport Month' that it dawns on you that maybe this isn't intended for your eyes. That's how I first came across this and I was disappointed. I never like it when people write 'National', assuming we'll understand it is 'US'. It's like when they say 'South', assuming we'll know it is the South of US.

I agree with vampyren that telling teachers worldwide to travel would be a far more effective and interesting campaign. And then schools around the world need to introduce a mandatory 'Cultures' subject, which could pretty much replace 'Geography' as far as I'm concerned.