Your Greatest Discovery

Apr 15th, 2000, 09:53 PM
  #1  
lola
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Your Greatest Discovery

Travel offers enlightenment and sometimes, surprise. I'm curious, what is the greatest discovery you have made after a European trip--about a place, the people, or about yourself?
 
Apr 16th, 2000, 05:30 AM
  #2  
joan
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The greatest discovery I ever made from my European trips was that I could travel on my own and enjoy it. When I became a widow I stopped traveling for awhile, but I picked myself up and went to places I had never been with my husband. When you travel on your own you get to meet the people and really feel a part of the scene and it has even become my travel of choice in many cases. I hope others can discover this as well. Start with places where English is spoken if it's hard for you.
 
Apr 16th, 2000, 06:10 AM
  #3  
Maira
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The greatest discovery for me was how foolish the notion of the French been rude was. This often repeated notion had prevented me for years to planning any trips to France (who wants to be treated rudely while on vacation?). When I finally did it was a nice surprise how ridiculous that notion was.
 
Apr 16th, 2000, 10:17 AM
  #4  
Marisol
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I discovered that while stereotypes may apply to a large group of people, individuals vary. I have found the most warm and considerate individuals in countries known for coldness or rudeness, and some real stinkers in countries with great press, like Italy. I keep an open mind and am often surprised.
 
Apr 16th, 2000, 12:51 PM
  #5  
sam
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I discovered how much I love the beauty of small European villages and towns. So often they have retained ancient architectural styles and a lifestyle that still revolves around a square or a plaza. People congregate there and stroll in the evening and sip coffee in the daytime and argue and flirt. This is a way of life that seems so wonderful to me. I think Europeans still have a wonderful way of spending leisure time this way in small towns. Unfortunately I live in an area of strip malls and chain stores and there is little sense of community.
 
Apr 16th, 2000, 04:10 PM
  #6  
julie
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We have lived in Saudi Arabia, on the East coast,west coast, in the Southwest, and have travelled extensively from every corner of Europe thru Russia, Japan and China, etc. The one true thing I have learned is that people are pretty much the same, and that home is a state of mind. Good and bad--everywhere. However, coming home is always one of the best parts of going.
 
Apr 16th, 2000, 07:36 PM
  #7  
Lover
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The greatest discovery that I make every time I go to Europe is that it is the one area of the world that I can't seem to get enough of. No matter how many times I have gone, whenever I get a chance, I go back. And it doesn't much matter if I've been to a place before; I'll happily return to see how it has/hasn't changed. Anyone else on the forum as obsessed?
 
Apr 16th, 2000, 07:48 PM
  #8  
Jennifer
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I wouldn't necessarily say that this is my greatest discovery, but nonetheless a major one.

How spoiled we Americans are! Oh, I love my country, and I love living here. But we're really overconsumed with materialism. When I go to the store to buy shampoo or a box of tissues, do I honestly need a choice of a zillion kinds?! I like the European attitude of spending money on travel and true material necessities.

I'm embarrassed to say -- I just have too much "stuff"! I think we should all live on a lot less so we would have more money for travel. A well-traveled person is a rich person, no matter what the dollar amount in his bank account states.
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 07:17 AM
  #9  
Anne
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Dido for Jennifer's comment above. This weekend I was thinking about what Could be said of our American Culture. If the French have Joie de Vivre and the Italains have La Dolce Vita, Amercians have The Aquisitions of Life.

My most memorable experience was spending a summer with a large Mexican family in San Luis Potosi, Mexico when I was 15. There were five girls in the family and their little brother was a baby. Becoming part of the fabric of their lives was the best. The night before I left, everyone cried. I mean really cried. Later that night, the parents woke me up to hear the serenading of some of the teenage boys that I had met while I was there. Guitars and all, no joke. Beautiful culture and incredible memory.
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 07:34 AM
  #10  
one opinion
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Re Anne's Mexican experience above, I hate to bring up all the agony over little Elian, but she says what I have discovered from traveling to many countries, including Russia and those in Eastern Europe, under socialist rule at the time. It is not trips to DisneyWorld and expensive toys and gifts--it is not capitalism -it is love of a parent that brings the greatest gift to a child. A loving family is family, whether they are poor or not. My travels and observance of this has affected my thoughts on many current issues. I have seen with my own eyes that poverty and even politics are no barriers to love of family. And travel helps us open our minds and discover this.
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 08:15 AM
  #11  
Karen
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I had the privilege of living in Rome for six years as a young woman. While I treasure that experience, and truly enjoy the scant visits back, my greatest discovery was probably about how American I am! After a couple of years (I'm sure it took that long), I was ready for the vacation to be over and for real life to begin. I discovered that the family, the politics, the educational system, and the society I really cared about was all back in the U.S. and I became, to my great surprise, profoundly homesick for my own country. So I guess I agree with whoever said that travel helps you to know yourself better. One of the best reasons to do it!
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 10:24 AM
  #12  
elvira
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I discovered how much my passport means to me. It allows me to leave the country any time I want - and come back.
When Charles Keating was arrested, the police TOOK AWAY HIS PASSPORT. Of all the things they could have done to him, that was the one that made me cringe.

The second big discovery is how reasonably-priced travel can be.
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 11:15 AM
  #13  
Carol
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Elvira please do share your secret on reasonably-priced travel. I live in South Africa and NOTHING seems reasonable when you are converting the SA Rand. On the other hand I'd rather starve than not travel, well almost : )
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 12:06 PM
  #14  
Jim
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I love this posting. The greatest discovery I have made is that I can actually speak another language. I have taken Spanish in high school, and before my trip to Spain I brushed up with one of those "10 minutes a day" books and lo and behold I made myself clear enough to be understood and if the Spaniards spoke slowly enough I could even understand them! I am currently learning Italian and hope to be able to do the same in Italy. The main thing is to be satisfied with a couple of verb tenses and not be afraid to make mistakes. I have also discovered how pleased it makes people feel to try and speak their language.
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 12:27 PM
  #15  
santachiara
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So many discoveries. One of mine is that the American standard of living isn't the end all and be all, and that in some countries you aren't even judged by the size of your SUVs and tract houses. Also discovered that fresh fruits and vegetables and "free range" meat, sold only in season, is the best eating in the world. Don't know if I could ever go back to tennis-ball tomatoes. Also discovered that every challenge that I am able to overcome or get around or slide under only increases my self-confidence and self-sufficiency. And finally, to the relief of friends and family, I am learning patience.
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 02:59 PM
  #16  
Grecophile
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The greatest discovery I have made is the Greek islands. I just feel compelled to go back to different ones each year. I especially love them in May--the fresh, warm air, the flowers, the people, the sea, the shades of blue and the (yes!) shades of white!
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 07:04 PM
  #17  
Janine
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I enjoy these kinds of threads where I can ponder awhile. One of my greatest discoveries in traveling in Europe is that although travel may be "broadening," it doesn't have to mean you gain weight. I find that by eating the moderate breakfast often provided at the hotel, a light lunch --often fruit and cheese or soup and bread, and a full dinner, I do not gain weight. That is because I also WALK whenever possible. In the many years I have been traveling I have found that travel to Europe leaves me more fit than when I am home, by my fridge. As Ms. Martha might say, "It's a good thing."
 
Apr 17th, 2000, 09:22 PM
  #18  
Philip
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Lola- I have discovered after reading this forum for just a while that you guys really do help a fella out when he finally gets to Europe. I used the advice from here this past month in England and Ireland. I found that what you have warned about or uncovered is by and large pretty on the mark. So I think that this site is my greatest discovery.
 
Apr 18th, 2000, 04:24 AM
  #19  
AJ
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Driving around rural France, with no fixed schedule, I happened upon the Gorges du Tarn. Wasn't expecting anything, had not heard of it before, and it was breathtakingly spectacular... I could've stayed forever.
 
Apr 18th, 2000, 05:34 AM
  #20  
Anne
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Lola:

We haven't heard from you. What has been your greatest discovery? How would you summarize the insights gleaned from your posting? This has been alot of fun.
 

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