I’ve planned out, on paper that is, my next holiday. When it is going to happen is up in the air – it could start as soon as next year, or may have to wait until I finish three and a half more years of university. Either way, it’s a big ‘un. And there’s a reason behind it – I want to go on a holiday and not be a tourist.
Ok, that probably makes no sense at all outside of my mind, so I’ll try and explain it as best I can. See, the country I’ve spent the longest, uninterrupted time in is Orlando, for two weeks, back in ’01. But I was only a kid, and it was a holiday that my parents had planned out, and it was all about Disneyworld. The next longest is about a week and a half in London, on my just-gone holiday. That time I wasn’t a son, rather I was a tourist. And sure, the novelty was good, but I really wanted to get through that barrier and become something more. Something that meant I could fit in and become ‘one of the locals’, just with an odd accent. Being a tourist is fun, because of the anonymity factor, but I want a chance to actually start something over, knowing that it would all come to an end on a certain date. Which would mean a chance to do-over any mistakes I had ‘blending in’ here and the chance to live every day like it’s the last. It would be a chance to really try out a new and exciting experience in an increasingly predictable world.
Which is what my (paper) holiday has planned out – it’s five months or so spent in and around the USA. I frankly don’t care what people’s opinions are of “Americans” or “America”, because a lot of these people are speaking from ignorance – they are generalising on a base of Bush, stereotypes and T.V. at best, and the America they talk about is the trigger-happy, war-mongering, ill-democracy that is so popular to bash on these days. I want to go over to experience the real America. I’ve been there, albeit a long time ago, but I’ve been there and I have no recollection of any truth being behind the anti-America arguments.
The same happened when I was on my last holiday. People say Turkey is a great country is they’ve been, otherwise, it’s just another terrorist-filled blot on the map (and, for the oblivious persons out there, something I don’t believe). I found that the people there were extremely nice outside of Istanbul, as you generally find in all countries, but inside of the wannabe capital (because, yes, I knew it was Ankara, I had to stop over there) it’s too freaking busy to even gauge a feeling. I won’t be going back to Istanbul, but perhaps to other places outside of. Now that’s the opinion of one who has been there, and the subjectivity of my experience clouds my perception – I contracted food-poisoning, one of the public toilets I used was a stairwell (I should probably blog about that story actually) and all of my quirks made sure that I had a very average time. Thus, experience creates opinion.
So when people spout about how Americans are rude and loud, or obnoxious or whatever, and they have never set foot inside the country at all (and would anyone truly want their country judged on the handful of tourists that go abroad every year? Would you want Australia to be judged on it’s tourists i.e. me, when they are traveling?) and America is an awful place to travel to, I just laugh in their faces and talk about how stupid they sound (usually around now I have to duck, as the person I’m ridiculing takes a swing at me) and then talk about how I’m going there to create my own, informed, opinion.
Anyway, that’s the second reason I want to go to America. The third is pretty simple – to do something on my own. I want to plan and book a holiday all on my own (I pretty much did this last time, as my grandfather is hopeless on computers, but he had input), I want to go on a holiday all on my own – I want to do things in a foreign country, on the other side of the world, on my own. Call this my break at independence, call it selfishness, call it whatever, but it’s what I want to do. And, in fiscal and practical terms, it could happen this year. The only thing keeping me from doing it is the fact that I want to try and make this the most kick-ass holiday ever.
So, getting away from reason why, and getting to what doing, I have a list, in my room, of things I want to do before my life is out. Things get added to it every year, and very few things get removed. Some might call that weird, but when I ask people what they want to do in their lives, they have to think and umm and uhhh and whatever before they come up with one or two things, which generally include owning a house and having a job that they like, then these dream holiday ideas that I have come into play. I don’t have to think, I’ve got it all on paper, and about twenty of them can get knocked off the list with this monster trip I have planned, and then still have months of free time to spare.
As just a few, new years in New York was high on the list. So was see a SuperBowl, not because I particularly like NFL (I do like it) but because it’s one of the biggest sporting events in the world (and I plan on going to every big thing that sports has to offer). Of course, there’s those tourist-ey things, like Mt. Rushmore, Grand Canyon, Hollywood, but there’s a heck of a lot of obscure things, like spending a over a month living in Texas. I don’t know why I want to do it, but I do. And, of course, being in Texas means you can stop in at Dallas and stand on the Grassy Knoll. Additionally, because there are so many Americans (and Canadians surprisingly) on th eInternet, I’ve invariably made some friends who I’d like to go see, so that’s something else drawing me to America.
But this huge holiday, to get back to where I nearly started, means that I am spending a long time in single locations, which means it gives me long enough to establish some kind of ‘place’ in a society. That’s all I want to do – throw myself into a sort of experiment, where I have to reestablish myself from an outsider’s position to an insider, all in a finite amount of time and knowing, full well, that I’m going back to a monotonous and mundane life at the end, which should only spur me on to make the most of it all.
That’s the plan at least. But when it comes to holidays and me, those plans happen.