Traveling Makes You Interesting?

August 4, 2011

People often say to me, “Oh you have traveled so much. You shouldwrite about it.”

I interpret that to mean I am more interestingthan the person who hasn’t traveled and have so much more to say and that whatever I say will be interesting. Let me tell you that I have met some outrageously boring people on my travels who have nothing to say, who are inarticulate and unimaginative. They speak tourist tongue. They take in the wonders, but they can repeat only what the travel books say.  They may travel simply to help stir themselves up. And that is commendable, but it doesn’t qualify a person as having something interesting to say. I say, flat out, that the person who travels is not necessarily more interesting than the one who doesn’t travel.

Then again, a lot has to do with how most people travel. Sinclair Lewis said in his novel DODSWORTH that a traveler who sees twenty cathedrals once has seen less than the traveler who visits one cathedral twenty times.

Even then, the person may not be interesting.  A person is interesting, or he isn’t. Take a writer. The cliche remark is that writers lead interesting lives. Hemingway was an exception.