Friday, September 26, 2008

Is backpacking around Europe a negative thing?

I quote from a recent interview mentioned in the LA Times:
In her second "CBS Evening News" interview with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin was asked why she didn't get a passport until 2006. Did it, as some of her viewers wonder, show a lack of curiousity and interest about the world and other cultures?

She told the CBS newsperson that she had to work, sometimes two jobs, and that's why she didn't backpack around Europe like privileged kids do.

"I'm not one of those who maybe come from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduated college and their parents get them a passport and a backpack and say, 'Go off and travel the world.' Noooo. I worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life, until I had kids. ... I was not part of, I guess, that culture."

Now where in the world does owning a passport mean that your parents paid for you to travel around Europe? According to Palin, I'm a priviliged kid.
I'm guessing most people reading this have a passport. I am also guessing that the majority of you have used it more than once (and not just for LDS missions). I am further going to guess that the majority of you paid for your own trips yourself.
I know I have. $6000 for 10 weeks in Europe. My money.
Sorry, Palin. We're not a part of that culture either. We work hard. Most of us even paid our own way through college. But we value travel and experience enough to sacrifice our time and our money for it.
Priviliged? No. Curious about the world? Very much so.


Tim said...

Sorry if I sounded overly harsh in my criticism.
What bothers me is that Palin is turning a definite negative (a woman wanting to become VP who just recently got her first passport) to a positive (I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth).
Sorry, Palin, but the big negative still stands. And it stands because so many of us paid and worked our way through college and international trips.
So please, no lame excuses.

Brightonwoman said...

As my dad's email signature says:
Experience is the ultimate teacher
Travel is the ultimate experience

I think travel does more to educate a person than extra years of college...seriously.

KLJ said...

Well, I can see your point, but at the same time, I see Palin's point. I never had a job that paid high enough to allow me to do anything more than go back to school or on a mission. I had these goals in mind and I reached them, as you did with your international trips. (Of course, you had school and mission as goals that you reached, as well; maybe you just had more time than I did to also reach the trip goal.) All are commendable goals. I have never had a passport (since my mission was stateside) and so I wouldn't have read into Palin's comments what you did. I would love to travel someday, and I recognize its educational value, but it has never been a focus for me, and won't be for many years, due to circumstances. Apparently it hasn't been a focus for Palin either. To each his own, I guess. It sounds like she just shouldn't have made that particular, somewhat erroneous connection...

Tim said...

Pay is certainly a factor. Also a factor: taking ten years to get from high school to grad school.
That being said, Palin and her husband make some pretty good dough, especially since both are working. Yes, they have a family, and that makes travel more difficult--although I would argue that that's an even better reason to go. I hope I can introduce my children to the world. Living in Switzerland as a child forever changed my perspective on things.
Travel isn't possible for many people. But it should be seen as a positive thing. And I expect the Vice President and President to know a bit of the world (and some of that requires travel), since they directly represent the US to the world. I guess I worry that if they don't, they'll make bad decisions.
How did meeting Mexicans in Arizona change your view on things?
It's not traveling abroad, exactly, but the idea is much the same. Your eyes are opened to realities that you didn't know existed. And you are wiser for it.

Tim said...

And please feel free to disagree with me. I won't trash any comments unless I find them abusive.

KLJ said...

I can agree with all of that, certainly.

Cougarg said...

I can think of some things that are worse for a person to do with their parents money than see the world. And there are people that work really hard and still can't afford to travel that use what money they do have for irresponsible purposes. Traveling is not inherently good or bad, and neither is staying put and working. The motivations behind the actions make them good or bad, as long as those actions are allowable by law.