Mes­sage From The Editor

Dei­dre loots

SLOW Magazine - - Edition 40 -

“Travel is fa­tal to prej­u­dice, big­otry, and nar­row­mind­ed­ness, and many of our peo­ple need it sorely on these ac­counts. Broad, whole­some, char­i­ta­ble views of men and things can­not be ac­quired by veg­e­tat­ing in one lit­tle cor­ner of the Earth all one’s life­time.” – Mark Twain

Over many years and many trav­els, I have learned that the best trips are not so much about the des­ti­na­tion, but about the jour­ney. And, more im­por­tantly, that the jour­ney does not end once you reach your des­ti­na­tion, or even upon your re­turn. The most mean­ing­ful jour­neys are the ones that also make you travel in­ward.

A few months ago I took a month-long trip to France, Italy, and spain, the lat­ter be­ing a to­tally new ex­pe­ri­ence for me. while I had trav­elled ex­ten­sively through France and Italy be­fore, this re­cent trip was to­tally dif­fer­ent. I had never trav­elled abroad for more than two weeks, and I nor­mally pre­fer to visit just one coun­try or re­gion at a time. De­spite my reser­va­tions about the length of time away from home and the sen­sory over­load from try­ing to process so many sights, sounds, tastes, and emo­tions, this trip was dif­fer­ent for other rea­sons, too.

Per­haps my age – and a lit­tle bit of wis­dom that sup­pos­edly comes with it – now in­flu­ences my ex­pe­ri­ence of that which is “for­eign”, or at least per­ceived as for­eign. As such, I find that travel is a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence. once you have ex­pe­ri­enced the mad rush at the ma­jor Euro­pean air­ports and the stu­pen­dous in­flux of “for­eign­ers” (just like you), you come to re­alise that there are mil­lions of peo­ple just as “special” as you may per­ceive your­self to be. In this re­spect, I re­alise now, travel is the great equaliser of hu­man­ity.

Apart from be­ing the great equaliser, though, travel is also the great up­lifter be­cause, in­vari­ably, it con­fronts and de­stroys prej­u­dices. In many ways we are con­di­tioned to la­bel “for­eign­ers” in a way that sub­tly re­duces them to a sin­gle char­ac­ter­is­tic. The French are rude. Ital­ians are bom­bas­tic. The English are con­ceited. Amer­i­cans are loud. These are the la­bels we use to de­hu­man­ize oth­ers without ever hav­ing met them, or spent any time get­ting to know them. Travel changes that, but only if you are will­ing to en­gage with the lo­cals, learn to greet and thank them in their own lan­guage, and most im­por­tantly, learn to re­spect them in their own coun­try.

And yes, I did see and ex­pe­ri­ence a lot dur­ing my trip, and you will get to read about the high­lights in this and fu­ture edi­tions of SLOW. But for now, I’m still trav­el­ling in­ward as I con­tinue to yearn for a world de­void of prej­u­dice.

En­joy the read

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