Travel blues

They say that travel widens the mind. Maybe, that's why I perceive my wallet to be thinner after all the travel I did last week.

A great number of people have said a good number of things about travel. And many of them do not belong to the travel industry or publish travel books. But we need to bear in mind that those good things do not apply to the kind of travel that you and I do. You see, we are tourists, not travelers. Hiueng Tsang was a traveler. So was Marco polo.

Travelers have unlimited time and limited means. They do not have any one particular thing to see, but want to experience all things. On the contrary tourists have limited time and somewhat unlimited means. They are after specific things like see, snap and snack at Eiffel tower. Unless the water in Paris causes an attack of Cephalo meningitis (which I think is rare) tourists can safely assume that their mind will not be profoundly altered.

The difference between travel and tourism can be illustrated by the apocryphal story of Ramakrishna and the cat. Apparently, whenever Ramakrishna started meditating a cat in his ashram would come and sit on his lap and disturb him. So Ramakrishna made it a point to tie the cat to a pole and then start his meditation. However the disciples of Ramakrishna started believing that tying the cat is an integral part of meditation. Their first act of meditation was to find a cat and tie it. But that is not bad. The disciples of the disciples thought meditation is nothing but tying the cat to a pole. We, the tourists, are disciples hundreds of generations separated from Hiueng Tsang and alike. So you can draw your own conclusions about the the kind of travel we do.

My own belief is that travel is a lifestyle disease just like blood pressure and diabetes. They afflict the well to do people alone. Nothing more to it than that.