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Author Topic: Your most significant travel experience....  (Read 2845 times)

Edhelur

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Your most significant travel experience....
« on: September 25, 2010, 09:35:22 PM »

Why, where, and how?

Just thinking of this because one of my classes, Human Geographies, is talking about human mobility and migration, and a paper was assigned on this topic. As should be no surprise, I wrote about flying to Ireland, but it got me thinking about what other people would say.

So, a vacation or moving home or anything else is up for game --

-- discuss.
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vega1

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2010, 10:31:26 PM »

I've traveled quite a bit for business, so most of the travel experiences that have stuck with me have been from those trips. Things that stuck with me:

- Dawn from the hotel room window in Copenhagen, followed by the Carlsberg museum (highly recommended)

- The top of Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, Holland

- A Sunday in Kensington Gardens in London where all the people gather to stand on a box and preach whatever it is they feel like

- France... ugh. I'm sorry to any French people we have here but what an absolutely horrid country. I've been to Paris multiple times, Marseilles, Lille, etc. And all of the worst travel experience I've had have been in France. Cab drivers trying to rip you off, shop keepers ripping you off, being cursed out by waiters for asking for cream for my coffee, being told no food was served while sitting next to a french couple digging in to the steaks they were just served, on and on. Every time I have been in France it has been extremely unpleasant. It is not just me, by contrast Holland, Sweden, Denmark, England, Germany, all were wonderful and I was treated with respect and even kindness by everyone there. Try being lost at a train station in France vs being in the same situation in Sweden. Anyway, enough about that, France sucks, that is all I have to say about that.

- Driving between Phoenix and Tuscon in mid-summer across the desert and seeing huge mile-high dust devils traveling across the wastes (that was really cool).

- Aurora borealis out the window of the darkened plane on my way across the Atlantic

- Climbing a Mayan pyramid in Uxmal

- The city center in Brussels

Any, lots of stuff like that... is that waht you meant?

Oh, also, one significant event, moving with my family from California to Texas in 2000. We had lived in Colorado before Cali. We were absolutely unprepared for the intense nature of the flora/fauna in Texas. I'm telling you, unless you've experienced it you just don't know what I'm talking about. For a pansy like me it was humbling. Fire ants, 2 inch long Wasps (they eat Cicadas), caterpillars that sting, velvet ants, tarantulas, even the mammals (rats, squirrels, armadillos, coyotes, etc.) are on a level of intensity that's just not like any place else I've been. Took us a while to get used to.
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Edhelur

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2010, 05:45:12 AM »

- France... ugh. I'm sorry to any French people we have here but what an absolutely horrid country. I've been to Paris multiple times, Marseilles, Lille, etc. And all of the worst travel experience I've had have been in France. Cab drivers trying to rip you off, shop keepers ripping you off, being cursed out by waiters for asking for cream for my coffee, being told no food was served while sitting next to a french couple digging in to the steaks they were just served, on and on.
....

 We were absolutely unprepared for the intense nature of the flora/fauna in Texas. I'm telling you, unless you've experienced it you just don't know what I'm talking about. For a pansy like me it was humbling. Fire ants, 2 inch long Wasps (they eat Cicadas), caterpillars that sting, velvet ants, tarantulas, even the mammals (rats, squirrels, armadillos, coyotes, etc.) are on a level of intensity that's just not like any place else I've been. Took us a while to get used to.

1) My mum and her first husband long-term travelled to France back before my older sis was born (so thirty or so years ago). Comparing your stories to hers, they haven't changed much, though she has some amusing vignettes about her husband practicing French until he could hold his own in a snobbery match. (He could do it in English, any day, hence "first" husband, but French snobbery is a class of its own, she says). My older brother was named after a friend they made there, though, so it wasn't all bad.

2) I'm never going to Texas. Ever. The fact that Colorado is too dry to support much life without artificial irrigation is fine by me in some respects. Xeriscape your lawn (that is, let it turn completely dead-yellow), soak-not-rinse your dishes, expect a towel hanging on a drying line to take half an hour, and enjoy the lack of stinging caterpillars.
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"They had tried to reach their living fellows in fabled depths of blackness they had never seen - and what had they found? ... We looked and understood what must have triumphed and survived down there in the Cyclopean water city of that nighted, penguin-fringed abyss..."

Bacchus

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2010, 07:28:01 PM »

Take it from someone who has been to France numerous times, the French you encounter in Paris are ten times worse than the people in the rest of France. Inhabitants of Paris, much like the inhabitants of Amsterdam, are just fed up with tourists, and react badly towards them. The French in the countryside or the Meditteranean area are friendlier. If you make an effort and try to speak French and try to understand them, they'll be so much more hospitable. I've spent many a good summer in France, but that was that during my early scholastic career i spoke a fair good deal of French. The thing with the French is, however, their complete unwillingness to help you out. They won't speak English, and will only pretend to understand your French ifyou articulate perfectly. I really don't care for the nation of France either, and find them generally unfriendly and unhelpfull. Even the French speaking part of Belgium is inhabited by assholes. The northern part where they speak dutch are more friendly. I don't like the French, i don't like the people and i don't like the way they behave on a political level...

As far as significant travel experience. It depends on what you call significant. Vega said the top of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft was a significant travel experience, but i've climed that tower tons of times, and don't find it very significant. but then again, i'd probably find it significant to go to the country where Vega lives...
Also, i've been to New York, which is quite a few miles from here. And even though i loved the city, its still a Western city, and probably not a good representation of the US as a hole. So that doesn't really go as significant to me.

The places i visited that where most significant for my studies where Florence and Venice, and to a lesser extent Antwerp and Brussels. Especially the Italian trips where pretty awesome, and saw some amazing art.

As far as other cultures go, my visit to Shanghai in China was significant. Think thats the only time i can remember really experiencing a culture-shock of sorts. But a pretty amazing journey nevertheless

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Alrin

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 05:20:00 AM »

I travelled to the States to play soccer years ago, and one thing that stood out was the ability to drive up to a gas station, buy a 6-pack of beer and a rifle, and drive away again. Crazy f**king Texans.
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Ellia

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2010, 06:24:51 AM »

I've yet to travel to a country where English isn't widely spoken. For now, I'll just talk about Australia: the second country I've been to outside the U.S. (Canada was first).

So I first traveled to Australia to study abroad for a semester. I traveled alone, and it was quite a brave thing to do (I was 19 :P). I had a layby in Sydney to meet Etora (who didn't show up due to him being kidnapped), and enjoyed the 12 hours I spent there. I spent maybe, an hour and a half waiting for Etora at the Sydney international airport before I decided to take transport to my hotel. It was a bit scary since I wasn't sure I was doing, but I got to the hotel safely via shuttle bus (it was a late and cold night in Sydney and people drove on opposite sides!). I checked into a very nice hotel and knocked out quite quickly with my excessive luggage tucked away in the corner.

The next morning, I woke up early because I couldn't sleep very well. I was either exhausted from emotional trauma of being scared from the previous evening's events, or I was excited about the upcoming events of the day (flying to Melbourne). I used the hotel phone to call ash and talked to him for a bit. Then I took a page out of Rachael Ray's book and went down to the lobby, spoke to the Concierge about a map and a phone card, and explored the city a bit and did some shopping. It wasn't an entirely huge culture shock, but there were notable differences. For instance, at every crosswalk there were beeping noises to indicate when you can walk (we have those in Los Angeles, but the ones in Sydney were loud!). I literally jumped when it signaled for me to cross. I saw a cockatoo perched on one of the older buildings (Town Hall, maybe?) in Sydney, which is odd because you never see white birds with some yellow canary plumage looking at you from afar. The roads in Australia have some zigzag lines (still don't understand what they mean).

Anyway, I never ended up meeting with Etora, so I left Sydney that day to travel to Melbourne. That was probably my most significant travel experience because I was alone for most of that time, but I got through it just fine. It made me like traveling more, and now I'm not afraid to do it alone.
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Edhelur

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 07:08:42 PM »

so, for my own answer...

First time I'd call a 'significant travel experience' was a trip to Knoxville Tennessee for a National Junior Classical League convention -- which is to say, a gathering of the nation's Latin geeks. Now, the fact that it was the NJCL wasn't particularly significant, more that I learned to travel on my own, how to check in with a confirmation number, how to stay calm and unfrazzled in airports and waiting for a ride and checking in at a convention. That, and I learned to avoid the University of Tennessee's dorms and food services. DO NOT EAT THERE. yuck.

The more significant, though, would be travelling to Ireland. Practically speaking, I learned to go through customs -- "Let me see your ticket" doesn't accept "But I don't have a boarding pass for my return flight!! O.O" as an answer... it took me a moment to figure out that she meant the e-ticket/itinerary. Oops.
Emotionally speaking, though...
Descending for landing at sunrise in Ireland is beautiful. I loved the way the land is so incredibly green and the hedges so.. wiggly. One thing you notice flying into/out of Denver is how dependent we are on artificial irrigation. That means that there are perfect circles in perfect square fields where the circle is made by a sprinkler and is green, the corners completely brown/yellow. In Ireland, the hedges and fields are all green, all twisted and turned, with no graded surveyor's lines.
And it's kinda grey and drizzly, of course, but that's well beyond counter-acted by the presence of Joe.
:P
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"They had tried to reach their living fellows in fabled depths of blackness they had never seen - and what had they found? ... We looked and understood what must have triumphed and survived down there in the Cyclopean water city of that nighted, penguin-fringed abyss..."

Bacchus

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 09:06:39 PM »

Its fun to see how people note their first experience on their own as most significant. I traveled with friends, family and school/uni, but the first time i traveled and had to take the lead was last summer when i went to Venice with my girlfriend. I'm usually not the type of guy that arranges things, but this time i was kindof forced to, for you have to figure stuff out for yourself. It is quite different stepping out of an airplane and not having any idea where you are supposed to go from stepping out of an airplane and only having to follow the pack. Ending up on the airfport in Italy was a rude awakening...

But being your own tourguide ended up being really fun, and once you get over your shyness and the shock that you don't know a word of Italian and the Italian hardly know English or German, let alone Dutch, it becomes easy as well.
And yes, Venice was as beautifull and romantic as they make it out to be, but i won't bother you with those details.
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vega1

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2010, 11:55:27 PM »

Quote
I'm never going to Texas. Ever.

That's too bad, it has its own charm despite its faults (of course that's probably what the French say about their armpit of a country too).

I bet you'd like Austin for example.
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Bacchus

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Re: Your most significant travel experience....
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 12:02:19 AM »

Well, truth be told, if you take away the French, France really is quite a beautifull country. Its cities, but especially its countryside
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"If nobody comes down here and buys a car in the next hour, I'm gonna club this baby seal. That's right! I'm gonna club this seal to make a better deal. You know I'll do it, too, cause I'm crazy."

- Crazy Ernie
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