What I learned in Europe

High above the Atlantic on my way back to Canadian soil, I find myself reflecting on “what I got out of”, “what I learned” in Europe, etc… The question is one I expect to be asked, and one I find hostile – it’s the commodification of experience, such that it can be paid for, ranked, and marketed. But, on the other hand, it’s true that i learned a lot in Europe. Or rather, it might be better that I learned at a greater speed – this is normal, I think, when someone is exposed to so many new situations, so quickly. And yet, I feel the need to compile some meta-narrative answer which enables me to sound like a philosopher, which confirms or dis-confirms some assumption I possessed, anticipating my trip. And so here it is – that travelling, on its own, is useless. And that nearly everything I learned in Europe was from people, not places. In places, certainly. About places – definitely. But “places” are not themselves, they are sites of meaning, sites of imagined authenticity, sites of stories we tell ourselves, tell others, even sites that control us in ways we don’t understand. If you want to understand, you’ll have to ask someone. And they’ll ask you – because they don’t understand either.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s