Different Is As Different Does
A change of scenery can lead to a change in perspective – and a whole new outlook
It’s an old cliché that travel broadens our horizons. To explain why that may be true, here’s a novel concept for your consideration: Travel is about ‘The Different.’ The Different, as in not The Same. Going to a different place, meeting different people, trying different things. Breaking out of our set patterns, our established orbit. It can be a little scary – or maybe a lot. That all depends on our appetite for The Different and how comfortable we are with The Same.
On the other hand, travel by definition puts us at the mercy of The Different. Somebody in a strange restaurant in a strange city puts a strange-looking dish in front of you and says,“You’ve never had this before? You’ve got to try it!” You’re hungry so reluctantly you do, and amazingly you like it. That is an experience of The Different that you may never have had without travel. And once the ice is broken, you find yourself drawn to The Different because the experience is so bewitching, even when the strangelooking dish turns out to be, well, just strange.
For those of us who travel frequently, that’s just one example of countless opportunities we have to experience the rich, intoxicating brew that is The Different. And we are thankful for them all.
One of the joys of a job like mine is that wherever I travel, folks invite me to be part of experiences that are beyond the ordinary. Let’s face it – I’m a‘ behind the scenes’ geek. I love being welcomed through doors that say ‘No Admittance’ and into the Inner Sanctum of others’ work a day worlds. For a curiosity seeker like me, it’s a chance to peek under the hood to see the all the clever and creative ways people do their work, solve problems and tame the world.
Recently I got to tick a couple of new boxes on my bucket list, and both are featured in this month’s issue. First, we went ‘behind the shiny metal’ to see how Singapore Airlines creates new menus for its customers – a unique insight that’s given me a fresh appreciation for much-maligned airline food. That this undertaking gets done at all is amazing; when it gets done well, it’s a miracle. You’ll find the details in Cuisine at Altitude (page 30). My next big adventure was being invited to the opening of Marriott’s M Beta, a hotel environment that’s actually a testing lab for the Marriott Hotels brand. The word ‘renovation’ doesn’t come close to describing the transformation of the Charlotte, NC, Marriott City Center property. There are lots of cool new spaces and features, and what’s more guests can vote in real time for the ones they like best. But more than a hip new hotel, it’s a ‘live beta’ hotel Marriott says it’s using to shape the future of the brand. Find out more in our One on One interview with Marriott VP Matthew von Ertfelda (page 8). It’s human nature, I suppose, to want to feel special, go special places and take part in things that we think make us special. But we can’t get to those special places and things when we’re clinging to The Same. As Albert Einstein put it, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. However once we’re on board the journey bound for The Different, we discover. And when we discover, we learn, and when we learn we flourish. The truism is that travel broadens our horizons, but the truth is it’s not our horizons that are too confined – they’re still as big and bold and broad as they ever were. It is rather for us to reach those horizons. When we do, we can embrace The Different. And maybe then The Different won’t be so scary any more.
— Dan Booth Editorial Director