10 Places You Will Never Visit: A Challenge?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

north sentinel island

I burned my hand pretty bad when I was at an age when I was longer dirtying my diaper but still believed that the Easter Bunny sometimes went on picnics with Santa Claus and Batman. I scorched it while helping my mom cook in the kitchen (if I was a girl she would have named me Kelly). She removed a skillet from a red-hot burner and warned, “Don’t touch that.” I immediately put my hand down on the burner and then screamed like the little Kelly girl that I wasn’t.

My mom’s question was reasonable: “Why would you immediately touch that after I just told you not to?” But she was not able to deliver that particular lecture to me as she had the classic situation of a burned child on her hand.

My family still tells the story as the earliest example of my deep-seeded desire to do immediately what I have been told not to do. It’s why when I read the headline in The Sydney Morning Herald, “Secret Spots: 10 places you will never visit,” that I felt resentment even before I read the first word. My editor here only allows me to swear when I do it artfully, so you’ll just have to believe that my gut reaction to this headline was not “Truck Hat.”

The 10 secret spots include an island that has one deathly venomous snake for every meter of island, one that is home to a secret stash of some French guy’s $10 billion art collection, another island that is inhabited by hunter-gatherers who send a hail of arrows at any outsider stepping upon their beach, and a secret weapon testing range the size of England. Perhaps the most forbidden is the Queen of England’s bedroom, with all of the lusty longing that goes with imagining what it must be like. Back in the day, we can only imagine what sort of bacchanalian fun was to be had there.

The article’s list of ten places you’ll never visit is just an appetizer. In fact, the author has a whole book of 100 places he thinks no one reading it will ever go, which, without having read, I already resent with the fervor that I begrudge reality for having never put Jewel and me in the same bar on the same night. I am not saying she would definitely want to date me, just that it is very likely until this scenario has the opportunity to be proven wrong.

While I might be one of the few that takes the feeling of wanting to break out of the boxes the world places us into to the point of blackening my hand, I suspect I am not only the only one here who spells travel with a capital “T” and who sees this list as more challenge than caution. The jump from placing your finger on a spinning globe to deplaning somewhere that prior to that hour had always been far away is an open declaration of war against a world that limits the ability of dreams to incarnate.

If I learned anything from the burning-of-the-hand incident, it is that I have learned not to take people’s word and not doing something just because someone or everyone says that something cannot be done. The negative result of this way of living is that sometimes you literally get burned. The upshot is you find yourself spending less time dreaming and more time actually doing.

The above-mentioned list and book can be read in two lights. One, the light of acceptance, or two, the acknowledgement that while he’s likely right that we will never get to these places, imagine what we would do if we did.

[Secret Spots: 10 Places You Will Never Visit via The Sydney Morning Herald]

By Luke Maguire Armstrong

A Promise Stretching Through Time In Kenya

About the Author

A Promise Stretching Through Time In Kenya After setting out to hitchhike from Chile to Alaska, Luke Maguire Armstrong stopped in Guatemala where he spent four years directing the social service programs of the charity Nuestros Ahijados. He is the author of, iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About (available for sale on Amazon.com) which is especially enjoyed by people “who don’t read poetry.” (Follow Luke on Twitter: @lukespartacus). His new book, How We Are Human, was recently released.

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