13.12.06

the cosmopolitan vs the homebody

cosmopolitan (時髦)
image by J

J/TOHA writes: One of my japanese class lecturers used to call me "cosmopolitan". Frankly, I don't know why. That was a huge word for me! Anyway, I have been reading a bit about design and the world of creatives. And it seems that one of the most commonly quoted source of inspiration for these folks is travelling. As I have an extremely sensitive nose, I cannot endure long flights, since my nose would be all clogged up and my throat will become extremely dry. So the furthest I have ever been to is Japan. But I have been thinking about travelling quite a lot these days. Maybe because it is the end of the year. Or maybe the cosmopolitan in me is calling.

There are many types of travellers. Some feel the need to see every significant historic and cultural site, taste every possible local dish. The supermarket traveller. Some like the thrill of adventure and seek out only the most exotic and the most obscure. The trophy traveller. Others desire the luxury afforded only to the foreigner: the ancient massage technique, the flowered bath, the doorman's bow, the Louis Vuitton suitcases. The sahib traveller.

All are not, by dictionary.com's definition, truly cosmopolitan. Perhaps the real cosmopolitan is the business traveller - he is at home anywhere in the world, because he is most often everywhere but home.

the world outside (外界)
image by J

When J and I travel, aiyah, we are most unadventurous! We do the very things we would in Singapore. We take the public transport in order to walk aimlessly around a certain district or to look for connections with what we already know - a film we have watched, a book we have read, a song we have heard or a reference found in any of these. So we end up in sometimes rather unexciting places. A quiet neighbourhood with housewives. A street where the only activity observable are art students taking a break on the college steps. An expired park with dry fountains. Then at the end of the day we stake out a cafe and sit for hours. If we are lucky, we strike up a conversation with someone. If not, we doodle or chat. We then usually return to the cafe or the same street everyday - as if eager to sink roots.

Us amps are definitely not cosmopolitans; we are homebodies! And perhaps we travel hoping to find in a foreign place an even stronger sense of home. Friends, what kind of traveller are you?

6 comments:

said...

reminded me of when i visited san francisco. my request to my friend was to help me locate this pub, the "new amsterdam" that was mentioned in "mr jones", and also, when we went to berkeley, to find "virginia and la loma".

the "new amsterdam" was never found, but we did end up in a pub where a band was playing pretty good stuff, and we all got drunk.

and being at "virginia and la loma" was pretty amazing, i suppose, also because we were about to give up when we found it.

a big house was there and i wondered if the occupants were the ones mentioned in the song...

anyways... can also be seen as quite sad really... so which category of traveller would that fit into?

Anonymous said...

i think the way you do it is the most adventurous . . . .

ampulets said...

ru - the accidental traveller? ;>

40C - the adventure of no adventures... (are you back writing?)

Anonymous said...

i think i am back writing. five posts since saturday, three in the last 24 hours.

tho i wouldn't recommend linking yet, if i can be that presumptous. do the RSS thingie for a while and see how it goes.

and i really like wordpress. i can toss the templates in and out in a heartbeat, and treat the blogskin like a mood ring :)

Anonymous said...

haha I'm like you guys! if it's out of reach by public transport I won't go there. and if I find somewhere nice I'll keep going there. and I never visit the tourist attractions because I'm too lazy to queue up.

ampulets said...

40c - i found you, let me know when it's "safe" to link.

jing - some tourist attractions are great to go to,esp for the tourists ;P

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