|by Sean O'Neill||Questions and Opinions||697|
That's the question posed by Stanley Fish, a law professor, author of 10 books, and blogger for the New York Times.
Fish describes himself as a "bad traveler."
First, I just don't care about seeing sights. ... Churches, famous squares, wide rivers, forests, cobbled streets, scenic vistas, castles, grand gardens . . . I go Spiro Agnew one better: when I’ve seen one, I’ve seen one too many.
But behind the lack of interest in sightseeing is something deeper and more unsettling. When I ask people what they like about traveling, they usually answer, I enjoy encountering different cultures and seeing how other people live. I am perfectly happy with the fact of other cultures, and I certainly hope that those who inhabit them live well; but that’s as far as it goes.
By definition, a culture other than yours is one that displays unfamiliar practices, enforces local protocols and insists on its own decorums. Some of them even have different languages and are unhappy if you don’t speak them. To me that all spells discomfort, and I don’t see why I should endure the indignities of airplane travel only to be made uncomfortable once I get where I’m going.
What do you think? What makes a good or bad traveler?