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December 20, 2017

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Penny wise, pound foolish

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Mesmerizing

December 20, 2017

Travel and getting to know other cultures really is a journey of education, true. I believe I read it in an in-flight magazine recently, and I even believe it was a hiphop celebrity stating it, but I agree completely and more.

 

It was only logical, or even meant to be, that I'd meet a similar mind a little bit later in life, who, like me, believes that you should try to come home as often as possible. Because that means you have been away as often as possible, but you always return home. Some people see travelling as fleeing a little bit, I guess. Some people long for living in a remote or very different place they discovered themselves on one of their trips.

 

Not us.

 

We love almost every single place we visited, and don't be mistaken, our travel-to-do list is still huge (it even seems to become bigger instead of smaller, very strange!), but we love the flatness, the freshness, the small-, and at the same time big-mindedness and so many more things about our home.

At the end of the 19th century, a guy called Lejzer Zamenhof tried inventing a universal language,

 

 

esperanto. He believed truly from an idealistic point of view that it would bring people closer together when they would be able to automatically understand each other speaking the same language. I don't think he meant the technological wizardry of Google Translate, but who knows?

 

His attempt failed.

 

Although I don't know what the logic of the language was nor how he tried constructing it, I think indeed, it was an idealistic attempt with a lot of complications. Most importantly, in my opinion, push is rarely good. Pushing implies you have to force and force generates resistance. Pull is better. When there is something in it for you, you have a reason, a motivation to want it, use it, support it, etc.

 

I remember it was in Hiroshima, Japan.

 

Obviously, I was impressed and shocked about the remains from history, particularly the sight and site of the former Institute for Technological Innovation, which (and isn't it ironic?) was the only building left standing after the terror in August 1945. It is now a hugely impressive memorial to the horrible events.

 

After having been muted by the sight of the remaining structure and being very Zen and philosophical in beautiful Japan to start with, I looked up a cafe to have some breakfast/brunch/lunch, I don't remember which. What I do remember was, while I was enjoying an amazing doppio espresso, a danish and a French croissant, listening to Miles Davis bopping away over the speakers, being served by a lovely Phillipine lady, I realized this is what it's about: here I am, a Dutch guy with all of my cultural perks and peculiarities in a Japanese cafe enjoying

all of these intercultural milestones...

 

And then it hit me.

 

Zamenhof was right, at least when it comes to culture. However, it is not about pushing, fleeing or choosing, it is about pulling, exploring and combining; I am looking for my own Esperanto Culture!

 

Most of the things anyone in the world from any type of culture does is a result of an ageold experience and fitting of life with the environment. That means we need to learn from each other and combine these cultural insights in our existence. Not replace, but combine. And if it doesn't apply, just enjoy it in its original area of conception.

 

Why do you think that particular drink or dish never tastes as good at home as it did where you discovered it? Exactly.

 

I guess this philosophizing are my German and Greek influences...

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