Irritating Question......

Old Aug 9th, 2001, 06:41 AM
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Irritating Question......

There is a thread on the European Board called "Irritating Question" and it deals with the common response from a lot of Americans to people who are planning to travel overseas, specifically "why would you want to go overseas when there is so much to see in the United States".

Do you believe that people should see the United States before they even think about traveling to Europe? Why?
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 06:49 AM
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Laura, I have never traveled overseas (not that I wouldn't want to). there are so many great places in the US to see that I just never considered it since it always seemed that it would be expensive and a real big hassle to deal with language, passports, unfamiliar customs and food. One day maybe I will get bored with the US and venture out of its borders but there is still much to see here.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 06:50 AM
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If so, does that mean we should see everything in our own state first? How about our own city? NO! Planet, yes.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 06:53 AM
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Fact is, it is very easy to get around the US, very cheaply.

Short and weekend trips are easy to do. US Highway system connects virtually anyplace to anyplace.

It's not a matter of first US or not, but the logistics.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 07:10 AM
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I was in the "no reason to go overseas" camp until I actually got the time, money and opportunity to go overseas.
Now I travel abroad every chance I get.
Yes, it is extra work to prepare for language differences and to educate oneself about how to make the trip work out long before taking it. But that's a big part of the fun/adventure of it for me.
And of course places like England, Switzerland, Australia etc are so English-friendly that it's not a big deal to adapt.

But the answer you refer to in your original question is a rationalization IMO. A defense to account for one of many underlying reasons why Americans don't venture abroad: lack of time or money, ignorance about 'what's out there' which leads to closed minds, anxiety over the many unfamiliar customs and travel requirements, etc.
There's a natural human tendency, I think, to gravitate to what's comfortable and familiar and not everyone has the inner drive to discover what else is out there.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 07:29 AM
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By the time I was 26, I had been to Europe but I had never been south of WashDC or west of Buffalo NY. Finding ourselves between jobs but with a little cash, a new car, and jobs promised to begin a month later, we set out to see our own country. Best thing we could have done.

I don't think it's a matter of which to do "first" because they each give a perspective on the US that you wouldn't otherwise have.

But I do think it's a matter of not confining yourself to touring one continent repeatedly without seeing the other. And if you've been to Europe (or other places where Americans are visiting tourists -- Caribbean, etc.) more than once or twice but haven't visited any other region of the US but your own, you are missing a great deal and I wouldn't call you well travelled.

BTW, it's not always a matter of $ or logistics. For example, it costs a southerner a great deal, relatively speaking, to visit the big cities of the north and west -- Europe isn't that much more. And flying from Boston to London is quicker and easier than getting to, say, Savannah or Yosemite.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 11:09 AM
Irked Too
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Just read the European thread, and it seems like the people on that board think that people who ask that "irritating question" are jealous of Americans who travel in Europe.

I agree.

Can't understand why else anyone would ask that.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 11:33 AM
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I have been guilty of not making enough effort to see the US, although I have seen a fair amount in spite of myself. Because I fell in love with Europe at 19, I have conspired to get back as often as possible. Another reason for my lethargy may be that I have lived in California my whole life, which removes one traditional US destination from the list. But I am also pursuing my "wish list" of US trips (for example, I went to Chicago for the first time last year and loved it!), and I'm always blown away. I just returned from a trip to Maine that was better than anything I dreamed. I guess I understand why those are irritating questions, and they do show incredible short-sightedness, but those of us who love overseas travel are foolish if we stop there.

One other comment: Morrie points out that the cost of travel in the US can actually be more than or equal to going to Europe. This is very true, especially when you add hotel, food and event prices. If I compare $800 to fly to Boston (as I was quoted about six months ago) with $1000 to go to London, I'm highly tempted. Another observation I have made is that the same people who think overseas travel is extravagant seem to spend a high-ticket weekend in Vegas at least once a year. This is a perfectly reasonable trip, but it blows the theory that they just don't have the money to travel.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 12:48 PM
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Of course, money and logistics make a difference, but the fact is that many people are uncomfortable outside their own culture -- some of it is a "control" thing in which they feel out of their element. Here's a story that illustrates that:

While in the military, I was stationed at a base in central Germany, the perfect lift-off spot to visit other places in Europe. However, few people there traveled much. Their idea of fun was to go to the base bowling alley or bar or movie, and live like "Americans." No criticism here -- that's just what they were comfortable with and had no desire to experience anything else. C'est la vie!
Old Aug 13th, 2001, 01:06 PM
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Sgt, I call that the "Spangdahlem Triangle" (or Bitburg, or Ramstein, or ...) The triangle is base housing (dormitory) to work to club to housing. They get sucked in, never to be seen again in Europe! Pathetic, isn't it, when Europe is at their door! I always felt so sorry for them. When I rose enough in rank to have them work for me I used to drag them out with me when I went someplace for a day trip. Most of them stopped hating their assignment!
Old Aug 13th, 2001, 03:27 PM
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My monkey said this is a ridiculous question and he wants to spank you...

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