People used to walk across the country. I recently read that before cities, people used to travel more, and that cities led people to travel less, thousands of years ago (source: The Dawn of Everything, which I’m in the middle of and love so far).
In fairness, because of cities’ diversity, people in cities may have experienced more diversity in people without traveling far, but walking, riding horses, and sailing allowed them to explore nature and diversity beyond the city. But people before cities traversed continents. Why not? They weren’t bound to one spot. They experienced more of nature’s beauty than us.
People today tend to reflexively respond that we’re healthier or live longer today, or some advantage, but the more I learn from anthropology and archeology, the more I learn that evidence contradicts that preconceived notion. Listen to my podcast episode with James Suzman, for example, or learn about the San Bushmen, the Hadza, or other cultures.
Can you imagine walking to a vacation spot? I doubt many can. We’ve taught ourselves helplessness and dependence, not freedom. Have you visited a tourist spot not overrun with tourist garbage?
From New York City, I’d have to walk for days to reach a serious forest, maybe more. We’ve paved over so much that few of us can imagine walking being an effective way to get anywhere. I have a couple friends who have walked on pilgrimages, but they’re rare. Even the people who did them don’t plan on doing them again.
I’ve ridden my bike on a trip over one thousand miles, though making a bike requires a fair amount of pollution and appeared relatively recently compared to cities and walking.
We’re living in historical anomaly of experiencing less of the world and have no idea how much we’re missing, confusing what we call traveling, which is visiting increasingly homogenized tourist traps without experience the degraded (by tourism) site being overrun (by tourism).
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