How Not To Be A Traveler: A Tourist In New York [Video]
The post that recieves the most comments here at The Expeditioner is one I wrote asking: “How Many Americans Have a Passport?” Rather than a discussion about the numbers involved and the process of getting a passport, the comments have mostly revolved around a debate about Americans and their place in the world. Or, more specifically, what the implication is that so few Americans travel internationally (as evidenced by the fact that only slightly over a 1/3 of Americans even have a passport).
Many commenters point out a number of reasons justifying Americans’ lack of international travel, including the size of the U.S., the economy, bureaucratic red tape, increasing fuel costs and the variety of domestic attractions. On the other side are those who point to the “Ugly American” stereotype: namely, that they’re bad travelers.
I’d like to think it has more to do with the former reasons than the latter, but the above video isn’t going to help my case much. I know, it’s a little unfair to pigeonhole any group by a single member, but this video, which has been making its rounds around the web today, makes me cringe and only helps to confirm my fears about certain travelers.
The above video of a visitor from Texas giving her thoughts about New York (while standing in the tourist cesspool known as Time Square) reminds me why I started this site (along with the motivation for that eventual multi-billion dollar IPO). I hoped to do my own small part in helping people change their minds about the world around them, to open them up to the possibility of travel, and to motivate others to explore our planet and learn about the places and people outside their own world, so as to open their minds and remind them that Earth has a lot to offer, but is also a very small place indeed.
But enough with the Oprah-speak, here are a few choice quotes about our Texan friend’s thoughts on the Big Apple. I post these not so much for a laugh (though, they are quite funny), but hopefully as a reminder to all of us as we’re out on the road to remember that though we might be having a bad day or the place we’re visiting may not live up to expectations, we should always be asking ourselves “why?” Is it our preconceptions that are clouding our view of our surroundings? Are we spending too much time in a location that isn’t representative of the place we’re exploring (Times Square for example)? How should we act (or not act) as an ambassador of our home, whether we want to be perceived as one or not?
Anyway, on with the quotes. “It’s kind of crappy here,” she notes at the beginning of the video. “They got [sic] a bunch of TVsall over the place,” which, she adds quite astutely, she could just as well “be sitting at home in my living room watching TV.” New York is also apparently very dirty, but at least “they got a cute pigeon.” In sum, “[i]t’s just a bunch of big buildings.” I’d like to think New York is more than cute pigeons and TVs, And next time you’re in town Miss subject of the video, I promise to try to prove it.