Over a year ago we canceled our DirecTV subscription. We never watched it much anyway, mostly because we did not have the time, but partly due to the waste commercial TV really is in the first place. Although we have watched a few movies since and have a Netflix account (and worthwhile programming like PBS are available online and at local libraries for free), I have not seen regular commercial TV since the summer of 2013. This changed a few days ago when visiting a family member who had CNN on in his living room.
Standing in the lobby of the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta
Perhaps it’s because I haven’t seen commercial TV or any news program in over a year, but wow, it was almost comical. I watched for about 20 minutes, and found that the sensation, drama, and extreme urgency the reporters conveyed over every tiny news item (much of which wasn’t news in the first place) was laughable. It’s also saddening, as people who watch these types of programs consistently will likely create in their minds an unfair and inaccurate view of the world, and ultimately be afraid of it.
But the more I travel, the clearer it seems to me: Fear is for people who don’t get out much. These people don’t see the world firsthand, so their opinions end up being shaped by sensationalistic media coverage geared toward selling ads. Sadly, fear-mongering politicians desperate for your vote pile on too. (Rick Steves)
One of the inspirations for starting this blog was actually Rick Steves. I’ve always been told, and believe, that if you want to accomplish your goals or dreams in life, that you have to take specific actions every day to ultimately achieve them. One of my favorite quotes is from Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels, where in part he states “Success seems to be connected with specific action.” I’ve always enjoyed traveling, and Rick Steves Europe is my favorite travel show. It’s long been one of my dream jobs, to be Rick Steves on PBS, and so I decided I needed to start doing something every day to get closer to achieving that goal, which started this blog. So Rick Steves has always been an inspiration; and that leads me to his wonderfully written editorial in the LA Times regarding travel, fear, and the media.
It seems that the most fearful people in our country are those who don’t travel and are metaphorically barricaded in America. If we all stayed home and built more walls and fewer bridges between us and the rest of the world, eventually we would have something to actually be fearful of. (Rick Steves)
This editorial was not only incredibly timely, it is absolutely true. Though many fear travel internationally, I know many that fear it locally as well, even in the Midwest. Even in St. Louis. That fear is usually unfounded, and if those with that fear would travel and visit the people and places they are fearful of, I’m confident that their fear would subside. I’ve long advocated that travel opens one’s mind to people, cultures and ways of life different than our own, and that is one of life’s most genuine experiences.
The flip side of fear is understanding. And we gain understanding through travel. (Rick Steves)
You can read Rick’s full editorial, in the LA Times, by clicking this link.