Naturally, I’m “chomping at the bits” to get going even when I’m suffering from stomach clinching nervousness. I keep feeding this stew of contradiction by reading travel blogs about round-the-world travel. Some things I find on them are informative, some are funny, and then there are some that are like reading a menu at McDonald’s. Ever once in a while though I find a real gem that I know is going to stick with me. I found the following story (not copied verbatim) on Lonely Planet.
A traveler came walking down a small road in a rural part of the world. Beside the road an old man was sitting taking in the morning sun. “Good morning Grandfather”, the traveler said. “Can you tell me what the people in the next village are like?”
“Well” said the old man “What are they like back home where you come from?”
“Oh, they are a nice bunch of folks” said the traveler. “Helpful and friendly and always ready to welcome travelers, too.”
“Ah well, son” said the old man “You’ll find the people in this village much the same.”
The next week, along came another stranger, who asked the old man the same question.
“And what are the people like where you come from?” the old man asked the stranger.
“Well,” said this new stranger. “They’re pretty awful actually. That’s why I left. They’d rob you as soon as look at you and not care a bit if you were hungry.”
“I’m sorry for that, son” said the old man. “I fear you will find the people in this village very much the same.”
So now I’m thinking, “uh oh”. And then I think, “No matter where you go, there you are.” And then I think, “Maybe the people around here aren’t so bad after all – even if they are mostly conservative teabaggers who would execute innocent people and let uninsured people die in the street like dogs and hate soldiers because of their sexual preferences and put people in jail for years for inhaling the smoke from a plant.” And maybe cows can really jump over the moon.