Friday, November 11, 2016

Multiple Choice

What do you see in this photo?
  1. Poverty. 
  2. Pity. 
  3. A place I should volunteer though I have no professional skills. 
  4. The best way from A to B where roads do not exist. 
The answer is, of course, #4.

For a long time, I wrote travel books and articles and daily accounts about experiences. I had a few goals, but the most important one was to DEMYSTIFY THE OTHER. Demystify the world. Demystify travel. Demystify the shapeless mass called humanity in places outside of our daily lives. Demonstrate that the travel porn industry is just silly, that there is no exoticism in THE OTHER, that the Noble Savage myth is absurd, that humanity is just you, but in a hut with fewer available channels and more beans. I succeeded with my audience, which unfortunately wasn't all that large.

I reach more people now as an editor—we do not hold back in our material there either. But with travel, I always tried to show that people are pretty much the same around the world and that things that seem impossible are really just a series of small, mostly inconvenient steps.

 The real question here is not multiple choice. It's how do you encourage people to develop critical thinking skills, to learn to dig into something they overhear or inherently believe, at least enough to question assumptions just enough to grasp the world is nuanced?

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