I heard a news story on the radio awhile back, about a boy of wealthy parents who had committed a crime, perhaps some type of manslaughter/DUI, and whose lawyers were attempting to make the case that, due to "affluenza," he simply shouldn't be charged for the crime. A sheltered upbringing of wealth and privilege had left him unable to see the consequences of his actions, because he'd never had any consequences before.
"Plagued with affluenza" is what I'm afraid of becoming in this job. I watch my peers
use their corporate AmEx to mitigate travel's slightest of inconveniences. There's no need to struggle to learn bus schedules or rush to pack up before your last free ride leaves you or eat local food until you learn to love it because it's your only option. Why would you, when you can pay for sky high taxis to wait on you, or gorge yourself on overpriced Pizza Hut, (after turning down the local delicacy because it's "too greasy").
A hundred yards becomes too far to walk if there's a bus to take you. 90 degrees with a breeze is too miserably hot. The popular music is too awful, and local customs are weird or trashy. Never mind if a home's septic system is at risk of ruin for flushing TP--it's just too gross to put it in the trash can, so ignore the caution. And never mind we ordered too much food. Leftovers the next day are appalling.
I loved learning how to blend into local life when I was in Mexico. It helped greatly I was broke and kind of had to, but also it was great that I was around like-minded people who had a great desire to immerse themselves in the area we lived. I was hoping for people with similar goals in this job, but I haven't found them yet. We travel to so many interesting places! I hope I still have the same wide-eyed sense of wonder a year from now at everywhere I get to see. I don't want to waste this opportunity. And while there's nothing wrong with appreciating that a little bit of privilege is nice, I hope it's never at the risk of looking at another place or culture with disdain, just because it's different.
Except for flying coach. I'm certain that after my first upgrade to a better class, I'll never be able to live with flying in cramped seating again. ;)
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