Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Breadth of Human Experience

I live in a city with a beach. At the end of the week I will be going to another city that also has a beach. The majority of Australians live near the coast. The further towards the middle of Australia you go, the less fun it is to live there. So a lot of Australia's population is based in large coastal cities. When I was younger I lived in a city that did not have a beach but the beach was not far away because I was in Tasmania and nothing is far away in Tasmania.

I don't like the beach very much but I often take for granted the fact that it is right there and always has been. Meanwhile there are people living in in the US - a country only a little bigger than Australia - who not only live in a city with no beach but to go to the beach they need to travel interstate. Some of them can't go to the beach without going through many states.

Austria is a country with no beaches. For everybody living in Austria, a trip to the ocean means travelling i
nternationally. But for people in Austria an international trip also means a car ride. There are no international road trips in Australia unless your car is a boat and the road is the ocean in which case you need to start reading the dictionary more often.

It's easy to forget just how monumentally enormous the breadth of human experience is and the things that are around us every day, even little things like the coast line, that seem like a constant might be totally alien to somebody else. In fact, what we call normal is certainly very alien to a lot of somebodies.

I hope, one day, I get to live in a city where going to the beach is a lot of travel and effort so I can increase my understanding of what the human experience might be and not just what I think it is.

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