This is my first contribution of 2016 to Silver Threading’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday and Ronovan Writes‘ BeWoW (Be Writing on Wednesday). I am writing it while sitting in the waiting area of St Pancras International railway station about to board the Eurostar to travel under the sea to Paris, Gare du Nord. In the next month, I will also travel to Barcelona, Utrecht (Netherlands) and Naples (Florida).
I have always loved travelling and have been lucky enough to travel to around eighty countries in my life. I love to immerse myself in the huge variety of cultures, languages and cuisines that abound in this wonderful planet of ours. The differences are there to explore and to celebrate. But I have discovered that the similarities outnumber the differences.
People who use the differences to fuel conflict, hatred and fear between peoples should pause to reflect and maybe they could come together to understand, to tolerate, and to celebrate the wide variety of cultures, languages and cuisines, as I do.
Life is an adventure!
By sitting in a corner, drowning in media stories and fermenting like a bucket of effluence, one can only hope to turn bad. We should go out and explore. That is why I like the following quote from Mark Twain so much.
“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”
During my extensive travels, I have met many people who are simply aghast that I have chosen to visit some of the places that I have been to.
“Weren’t you scared?”
“Isn’t that such a dangerous place?”“Gosh! You could’ve been killed”
…. are some typical reactions that I have encountered.
Listen! Everywhere is dangerous. Anything could happen at any time. I am sitting in a railway station in London. In 1973, I was in another railway station in London until I ran to catch my train at the last minute. When I arrived at my destination, I found out that, five minutes after I ran for that train, a bomb went off in the cafe where I had been enjoying a coffee. Three people were killed. I am as much in danger sitting here, right now, as I am in any place on the planet.
A tornado could rip through here any second. My train might crash. I will not live in fear. I would have a horrible life.
We should not believe everything we are told about countries, cities and villages that we have never visited. We should go out and find out for ourselves.
Hence my second quote for this week.
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”