September 15, 2010

Can I Have Your Opinion, Please?

I was reading Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake and came across this passage. If you would, read the passage and then answer the questions at the end. It is totally opinions, no right or wrong or weird.

Here is the passage:

"Gnosh shook his head. 'You are still young. Free,' he said, spreading his hands apart for emphasis. 'Do yourself a favor. Before it's too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late."

"My grandfather always says that's what books are for,'Ashoke said, using the opportunity to open the volume in his hands. "To travel without moving an inch."

"To each his own,' Gnosh said."

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YOUR OPINION HERE :)
So, what do you think of this quote? It made me wonder what other people besides myself thought of traveling vs. traveling in books. Are books a good way of seeing the world? Should you pass on/not look for opportunities to go places because you can travel in a book? If you do travel the world, is there a need to travel in books? Is it prudent to do both?

I know what I think, I want to know what YOU think. Don't worry that you don't have anything original to say, I just want to know your opinion if you would share it with me. :)

36 comments:

  1. Oh, I think you should travel both ways! Since I don't have the opportunity to travel much in real life right now, I have to rely on books.

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  2. Have you been taking seminars? ;)

    I certainly think people use books to armchair travel, but that doesn't replace actual traveling. Books can offer a temporary escape from reality, as describe places so that you feel like you're actually there. But if you're going to travel, I'd personally take Gnosh's advice (minus the pillow case and blanket, of course... I do need a bit more in the way of amenities :)

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  3. Travel while you are young and as long as you are physically capable of it. The day will come when books may have to replace travel- as it has for my husband and I who are now both disabled. Both are important but never put off travelling if you have the chance.

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  4. BOTH! If you can physically/afford to travel then definately go out in the world and have a sticky beak beyond your back yard.

    Having said that realistically there are some places your probably never going to get to or cant for what ever reason (eg Afgahnastan due to the war). A book can take you there and give you an insight into a world you will probably never get to see.

    I must also confess that the older I get my enthusiasm for travel is diminishing.

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  5. The very BEST reading time in my life was living in London, I got to travel in History in books and then go see the same places modern day!

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  6. I believe if you can do it then visiting other places and countries just adds to richness found in reading. They almost go hand in hand. But I love to stress to my students when they come in to find a book that they can go anywhere in the world and beyond without leaving their bedroom!!

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  7. Both! I love to travel, and I love to hear about other people's travels, but it's expensive and it takes time (which, if you work, you may not always be able to get). So books fill in for me when I'm not able to travel. But I don't think anything can replace the experience of actually being in another place.

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  8. I like to do both, though one (reading) is certainly more affordable than the other. Plus, there's nothing like finally seeing a place you've read about many times. Nothing can compare to fully engaging all of the senses, instead of just the eyes.

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  9. I prefer the real thing, but most often traveling through books fits my budget better!

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  10. I think there are two ways of exploring the world and they aren't exclusive. Travel doesn't made books irrelevant, or vice versa. There is only so much you can read about a place and know it, without actually visiting it, and there's only so much you can gleen from visiting a place as well.

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  11. Books are way cheaper. No matter how well described things are in books though, there is no comparison to
    Seeing with the eyes,
    Feeling with the skin and senses.
    Smelling with your nose, the different scents (flowers, food, general air):
    Talking with people.
    Tasting with your own tongue the flavors of the food...
    Hearing with your own ears, the languages, the music, the animals, the atmosphere...

    I have heard about my mom's country, and watched shows with tropical scenery, but actually being in Panama for one week - there's no comparison. Hearing the birds that sound like monkeys chatter at night, hearing the monkeys in the distance. Tasting the Platonos cooked Panamanian style (plantains in english), and hearing the way spanish sounded coming from my family's mouths (different from hearing spanish spoken by Mexi-Americans, etc)

    Hell, even the heat and moisture - I've never ever experienced anything like that before or since.

    So, travel in books - all well and good - a fun way to learn about places and stories. But you don't have the visuals, the auditory, the whole ambience.

    That's what I learned from my one and only trip out of the country.

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  12. I love to travel in real life and like to go all over the world. But when I travel in books I stick pretty close to Europe, the UK, US and Canada. I find reading something set in a place I have visited really makes the book come to life and illuminates memories of the trip. And I certainly enjoyed travelling to Egypt in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet. Oh, I am not sure what my answer is anymore.

    BTW, I haven't read The Namesake, but I liked the film a lot.

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  13. Well, I definitely think that reading books can help take you to all those places, but I absolutely feel it should be experienced in person too. I agree with the commenter earlier who said that traveling and seeing things in real life help enrich reading about it!

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  14. You should use them hand in hand because they give you two different experiences. Books can never replace being in a space using all 5 of your senses to exeperience somewhere you have never been before.

    Books on the other hand can give you a different feel for a place, but they are both needed I think.

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  15. I, like most people, pick up a book and read about locales that I would like to visit but don't have the money to. Having said that, nothing replaces the anticipation, the experiences of getting out there and (again like others said) smelling and seeing different locales. I love to travel and don't get to do enough of it. For now, I'll settle for visiting the place through my eyes and in my mind.

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  16. Answering before reading the comments to avoid any influence . . .

    I vote for both. Actual travel helps us see new places and things from our viewpoint (which probably shifts our viewpoint, eventually). Reading helps us see places and things (often new, but not necessarily) from someone else's viewpoint.

    That's my first thought, anyway. Good question!

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  17. As most of your commenters have said, do both. I did two things when I was young that ended up being the best experiences of my life. The summer after high school, I went across the country (literally from Georgia to Bellingham, Washington) to work at a summer camp there. In graduate school, I studied abroad for a semester.

    I wish I had spent a couple of summers during college at jobs either out west or in another country. I wish I had taken my "dream job" of working for an airline right out of college instead of going straight into my career.

    So, I tell young people as often as I can, travel, see the world, go places, as much as you can before you are strapped down by bills and responsibilities. You have the rest of your life to deal with those.

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  18. Well, traveling physically is definitely much more exciting. However, reading about it beforehand, makes the place much more desirable. That is my favorite quote from the book.

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  19. Both! Though, for the monetarily challenged such as myself, books are the go-to.

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  20. When you travel in books, you do so through someone else's eyes and experiences. This can be extremely valuable, especially when you're traveling through times and places that no longer exist.

    When you travel in person, you make experiences and stories for yourself.

    Both forms of travel will produce different understandings, I think.

    Great topic for discussion!

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  21. Isn't this a bit like watching sports on tv versus being at the game in person? When you travel, you direct your own focus. When you can't get to the actual place, you let someone else's words guide you through, for that kind of experience.

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  22. Oh how fascinating. And I really must read this book :) I love both kinds of travel - real and through books. I don't think I could ever pick one over the other!

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  23. Travelling in books is good, but not enough. I need the real travelling in my life, too. Then again in books you can travel, not only to geographical places, but also in time which is wonderful. :)

    By the way, The Namesake is such a wonderful book. I liked it very, very much when I read it.

    Greetings,
    Tiina

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  24. I loved reading all your thoughts on this! Thank you so much for sharing!

    For me, I agree with most of you, that one cannot be mutually exclusive of the other. Books are great for the budget-conscious (like me) who cannot afford to travel. It is a wonderful way to explore the world you haven't been to and get an insider's view to experiences you will probably never have (or sometimes hope to have in some cases, such as war.)

    But I LOVED my one time out of the country last October to India and to London. Nothing could replace the wonder of seeing and experiencing with your senses. I love traveling in books and experiencing other cultures that way, but I want to experience cultures and wonders for myself, too.

    Great discussion everyone!

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  25. I like to travel and travel by book. I fell in love with Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon books because I have been to some of the parks she writes about, but some places are too far and too expensive to travel to, so reading about them is just as good.

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  26. This is a terrific idea for a post. I am definitely a bookish traveler. However, I wish I had traveled widely when I was young and had no commitments. I wanted to, but fear and lack of money held me back. Maybe when my kids are grown? :-)

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  27. I love to travel and I love books. I think books certainly enhance traveling because when you go somewhere you have some context of what you're looking at, but they by no means replace traveling.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

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  28. Interesting question. I think both are wonderful ways to travel, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Through books you are experiencing the place as someone else saw it, but you can go anywhere, anytime. I wish I could travel more in real life, but since that's not always possible, books at least are an option.

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  29. I love travelling (even though I dislike flying) and if you have the opportunity to travel I think you should grab it (I know, all of those carbon emissions :-( ). I also love reading about other countries, but it's so much better if you've been to that country, too, it's much easier to visualise it. But what books do really well (if they're well-written) is make you see situations from someone else's p.o.v - that's the best kind of 'travelling' - travelling through someone else's psyche.

    The Namesake is a complex book, a friend lent it to me a couple of years ago. Guess I ought to read Gogol now.

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  30. I feel strongly that if you have any inkling to travel you should do it as frequently and as much as possible while you can. There will never be quite enough time or money to do it, so you just have to pick up and go.

    I also love reading travel memoirs and books set far away, but it's not the same as traveling to those places yourself.

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  31. What a great conversation!! I have to say BOTH!!!

    I actually have this book on my TBR pile and now have got to move it up closer to the top! This quote has got me wanting more!! :)

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  32. Go, go, go while you are young and don't have the responsibilities of a career and family. I regret not doign more and am tryign to encourage my kids to be more adventurous.

    Then when you have the kids and the job, you get the travel/memoir books out and read until ....

    You retire and the kids are grown and gone and you get to go again. I am looking forward to that stage of life.

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  33. Go, go, go while you are young and don't have the responsibilities of a career and family. I regret not doign more and am tryign to encourage my kids to be more adventurous.

    Then when you have the kids and the job, you get the travel/memoir books out and read until ....

    You retire and the kids are grown and gone and you get to go again. I am looking forward to that stage of life.

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  34. I think it's always best to see places in person, but traveling through books is a good substitute for financially challenged people like me. ;)

    But I always tell my daughter to read, read, read because of all the adventures and journeys within the pages.

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  35. reading allows you to learn about a new place, but nothing beats setting your feet in foreign soil and seeing/living in that place.

    however, if it's a madeup place, books serve the same purpose, don't they?

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  36. I definitely think you do both, but it is true that nothing replaces actually seeing the places you've read about. Putting the two together though, is by far the best!

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