Modern Pleasures: Tourism
Thoughts on Cynical Modern Tourism
“The world promises things temporal and of small value and is served with great eagerness; I promise things most excellent and everlasting and men's hearts are not moved.” — The Imitation of Christ
The world tempts us with temporary things, thereby, preventing us from enjoying the true bliss of long lasting, eternal things. Just as human alignment work going on in AI, similarly, Bible is a guide to align ourselves with God. Remember, God is eternal and our greatest joy and benefits lie aligning with him.
He even rewards us for doing long lasting things — it’s called compounding 1. Random temporary flings with shallow girls or instant 2,000 rupees profit in trading give us dopamine hits, and we think we’re happy. But as soon as this action of quick pleasure ends, we feel meaninglessness and despair. Personally, I’m guilty of all these above.
The Cynical Tourism Concept
One such cynical temporary pleasure is the modern tourism industry. It promotes the same temporary mindset, keeps you always on the move, shows you twenty slightly different gimmicky views, doesn’t let you enjoy anything more than one day. If they don’t keep you moving, how else will they justify the super expensive packages? Or maybe if you stay more than one day, you might discover that these places are actually not worth it? Why visit twenty different lakes, always in car or hiking, if you can stay at the best lake for 20 days?
The real problem goes deeper. We do a job that we don’t like to the fullest, we get burned out. We live in a place we don’t like2. It doesn’t rejuvenate us, so we get burned out quicker. Then, we go for a short trip, always on the go, seeing twenty different things. Much like 15-second social media reels, these short-lived travel experiences only provide a brief illusion of happiness. But my brother, happiness is an eternal state, it’s not momentary. We come back, unfortunately, now that the hits are gone, we try to recreate those hits by posting the content, we recorded during the trip, on social media or forcefully telling people the same story every year, “We visited this amazing place, it changed my life, blah blah blah …”. Then, when it’s all done, we are unhappy all again, we start seeking a distant happiness — a trip to a “different place” next year.
This tourism is a recent phenomenon, a fake way to cope with your utterly boring life. Never in history such a thing existed! In the past, people traveled for trade, saints sought enlightenment in the mountains, and explorers like Hiuen Sang and Vasco De Gama ventured to different places, immersing themselves in the local culture, learning from the people, and staying for extended periods of time, sometimes even years.
I can go on and on, but let’s keep that for another day. For now, plan long stays in beautiful places!
Money losing trading vs longterm wealth building investments.
Temporary flings that doesn’t let you focus vs joy of marriage and parenthood.
Surface book knowledge vs 10,000 hours of practice, experimenting to become an expert.
Endlessly scrolling 15s reels vs calling your longtime friend that compounds your relationship.
It is easy to conflate comfort with like, love. We are comfortable in our homes, that’s why we crave to come back. It’s a habit.