The life of a travel-addicted person has its own lessons and rewards. Some thoughts from the past few months:
- If you are under 30 and living in North America, leave for a while to go to Europe. Live in Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, almost anywhere. Don't think, just go. People and culture are 99% the same anywhere in the world, but the 1% that is different is significant and needs to be experienced. Life here is many ways much richer, more interesting and more layered.
- Same as the above if you are under 50. Or 100, for that matter. You might just opt for a few less parties and a few nicer places to sleep, but the richness of the experience is the same.
- There's something to be said for staying put. And there's something to be said for moving around.
- There are certain things we don't, and may never, have an answer for... why, in a city as amazing as Paris or while traveling themselves, are the French so miserable? Why, in a society as pragmatic as Holland, is hot tea often served in a cup with no handles? Why do the Spanish and Portuguese not pick up after their dogs? Why is Paul Rudd famous at all? Some things we may never know.
- Trade-offs. More orderly, poop-scooping North America is on time, has safety helmets and bigger dwellings, but can bore one to tears. Meanwhile in the EU, babies being held in one hand while the parent is biking, still-rampant cigarette smoking and trucks that back up with no beeping seem to be the price for a more exciting society. Trade-offs.