Thought bubbles: Travel before

Sometimes I wonder what it must have been like to travel before mass tourism. Before guidebooks, before the internet, before Trip Advisor, before data plans and SIM cards. Before globalization and the rapid spread of trends around the world. When discovering a place meant actually viewing and tasting and experiencing customs and cultures so radically different from your own for the first time. When it meant absorbing them and having to wait to tell people about them until after you were already back home or at least until you could send a letter. But then I wonder what people from those time periods would think of our world now. Of the way we can scoot from destination to destination and read words on a tiny glowing hand-held device that tell us we should definitely go to the peak and see the city from this one spot high above. A place where we will stand with a bunch of other people like us snapping photos for something called social media, oohing and ahhhing at the millions of flashing lights and toy buildings all placed perfectly on the rim of a breathing yet motionless bay. What would they think of that? Who’s to say what’s better. Either way, thinking of it this way gives me confidence that the magic is still alive, though it may have transformed, though we may have to look for it in different places, or maybe in the exact same place as hundreds of others, standing there, looking out, just like us.

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