The Cynical side of my thoughts on travel,
The art of travel has been reduced to drinking heavily, in different countries; and taking pictures on top of things. Human connection begins and ends with cashiers. A wall of cashiers representing corporate franchises that conquered your discovered country long before you got there: that mediated all of your cultural exchanges like condoms in a sailor town.
But you had already lost home before you lost ‘the exotic.’ Show me your families and your felons. Show me the down-and-out-man who is not certifiably insane and on government assistance. The beautiful, slummy world is gone. We replaced it with plastic beauty lanes and manageable Walmart slums as polar ends of a shrinking middle.
Maybe travel could be the new imperialism of some more genuine existence. Our flags, our culture: all just manufactured products from an unseen oligarchy. So we have generations of romantics trying to fashion a real home out of the void. They move, they explore, they realign the elements of survival (jobs, houses, hobbies) like refugees. They impose genuine earnest on the small spheres they find and inhabit.
The world is a beautiful place. That beauty gets teased out by lovers, by artists and serial killers. Then it’s synthesized, commoditized until everything you see, think, or taste is mediated: your deepest thought: an implanted suggestion. We travel to run from this, to scramble the signal.