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Samuel James Conroy

Confirmation Progymnasmata

Giorgia Alù & Sarah Patricia Hill composed a great article about experiencing others’ cultures without having outside influence on the way you see these cultures. The authors talk about the “Travellers’ visions” that warp the way we experience our vacations or travels. They quote Italian poet, Guido Gozzano,

“I must free myself from the remembrance of too many descriptions – from those of Marco Polo, deliciously archaic, to the modern and sentimental ones of Pierre Loti – in order to reenter reality, to see the much-awaited object with my own eyes” (1917, 233).

Gozzano is saying that since there have already been famous travelers across the globe, their vision and experience impacts your own journeys in not per se a negative way, but to make you want to experience what they did.

An issue with this is that a lot of the time, these impressions are wrong. Back in the early days of travel, artists would usually exaggerate their paintings to meet the demands that consumers had to see the “wild and exotic” places around the world. This was seen with illustrations added to Marco Polo’s writings about the east. Artists would then add graphics to Polo’s writings to make it seem wilder than it truly was, and usually these illustrations would contradict from the writings they were supposed to be describing. This makes me wonder if any travel adventure can be completely free of influence anymore. The internet has allowed everyone to become a travel writer, so anyone with a computer can read about really anywhere. Therefore, any travel trip has already been influenced making the world of travel largely one of stereotype.

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