Traveling is an experience many people claim to enjoy. Seeing new places, but not through a picture. Tasting new foods, but not through unauthentic imitations. Conversing with new people, but not over the web. These are the fruits of travel, and so many of us desire to indulge in them. Most of these desires are rooted in honest beliefs, for we often think we wish to travel and encounter something new, but to what extent can we really travel? If traveling is moving, then of course we can participate. But if travel is something more than the physical, our minds must be exposed to something foreign, something diverse. But is that what we want?
Diversity is a tenet that the contemporary liberal holds dear. Diversity is the silver-lining to globalization--the homogenization of the world. Rather than preserve culture and embrace the differences among them--as our world claims to do via globalization--we are meshing them into a muddled soup. The individual spices that we once enjoyed collide and form a tasteless muck. When traveling in the modern world, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to taste these individuals spices. But there is comfort in a bland stew, and maybe that's what we like?
To take America, the world's melting pot, and search for diversity, it often difficult for us to taste something we have not experienced before. The culmination of cultures in the United States boils away the "impurities"--the unrelated features of the various communities from which it is derived. The once pure land, dotted with unique family-owned motels, has been raped by the corporate sameness of Day's Inn. It would be an impressive accomplishment to find a motel untouched by the Gideons. But that is not what we seek. For many, the Day's Inn is warming. We can move great distances but find the same Bible in our bedside table at the end of the day. If we hunger, there will be golden arches before the next horizon. Try as we might, it is difficult to taste a different spice.
What is the traveller to do? Staying within the confines of one's community does little to suffice the wandering mind. For those wishing to sweat off the spiciness of a new region and have no water to quench the burn, there are few places open for raw exposure--for those places are off the beaten path devoid of the luxurious sameness where we find solace.
There is, however, something honest about these places. Their humility and simplicity. They are stark, unfamiliar. The feelings one can encounter upon visiting places such as this rare. Traveling to Antarctica, for instance, is a wholesome goal for the wanderlust. Within the mountains of snow and ice, isolated in a polar land, lies an uncapitalized beauty. McMurdo Station is buried on the Southern corner of the continent--a utilitarian town. Frigid, disconnected from other civilizations, a flavor of its own. The sharp and unfamiliar cold has no comfort, but this feeling is unique to the region. When there is no quick release from the cold--the spice--we can begin to experience something new. That is traveling.
Shipping out to McMurdo Station.