Friday, December 30, 2005

Emma and Charlotte

Emma and Charlotte

Here’s Emma and her cousin Charlotte. Charlotte’s just back from Australia, via Bali, travelling – just like Princess Sally. Neither of them are really taking a “gap year”. It’s more of a gap life, and who’d blame them?

They say that travel broadens the mind and maybe in some ways it does, but it can also set up and strengthen stereotypes or just generate misinformation. For example, I was only in China for a short while, but I formed all sorts of opinions about cross-gender relationships that now seem completely inaccurate (particularly after reading Xinran). In a similar way my ideas about the Chinese economy, based on what little I happened to see, were completely inaccurate – I found out so much more from reading Isabel Hilton’s excellent piece in Granta.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not valorizing books or the printed word, just thinking about how impressions are so easily formed. Nor am I privileging information over experience, just suggesting that we are all too quick to leap to conclusions, to close on our opinions, to narrow down. In fact, maybe I should be more open to the possibility that travel broadens the mind.

Blog travel at least has the ability to make you laugh out loud, as this little gem did!

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