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Front Page » December 28, 2004 » Opinion » Americans could use a real reality vacation
Published 3,403 days ago

Americans could use a real reality vacation


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate community editor

Reality shows on American television have become all the rage in the last couple of years. I personally don't see anything in them, but it is obvious by their proliferation on both network and cable TV that someone does.

Recently I also heard about people who are taking reality vacations. That means they go on adventures where their life is in danger or they work on the vacations in some weird job or activity.

That's a lot different from going to the Grand Canyon or Disneyland for a couple of weeks, although both those places offer their own kinds of dangers and challenges.

Vacations, or going on holiday as it is called in Europe, is about changing life for a week, two weeks or a month. Most people look forward to vacations as a change of pace from their usual daily routines which they begin to find mundane and monotonous at some point.

We are one of the few cultures in the world that has to take days off from what much of the rest of the planet considers a fantasy life. A large number of people in the world have to fight to get enough to eat, while we get tired of our full sized pantries and refrigerators. Many on the planet have substandard housing or none at all, while we complain because our automated 3000 square foot house is not big enough. Many on Earth have a hard time traveling 20 miles because they have no transportation or what they have is primitive or slow, while we complain if we don't have the latest automobile or truck of our liking at least every five years.

But most importantly, we need to take time off from a life in which we can worship in the way we want, say what we want, move where we want and write what we want. For most people in this small world, we Americans are on permanent vacation our whole life.

Now what I am saying here is not to make anyone feel guilty about what they have; that is not my meaning here. I have heard enough of that. But I guess what I am saying is that when we find ourselves complaining about our lives, maybe we should take a reality vacation to a place that instead is fun, a place that is miserable. Maybe Americans should travel to places like Haiti, the Dominican Republic or Bangladesh. Maybe we should take a holiday to live like those people live, with their food (or lack of it), their housing, their transportation, their rights and lack of rights to just see how bad things can be.

In our society many of us wait until that two weeks we can go fishing or camping, or traveling. We are almost always glad to come home from those kinds of activities, but I'm afraid we are never glad enough.

Maybe if people took the reality vacations like I suggested they would look forward to living their wonderful regular lives 50 weeks a year, instead of living their lives for a short 10 days away at a resort a couple of times a year.

Now, do you want to hear about all my frustrations with life and work and why I am looking forward my vacations in this coming new year?


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December 28, 2004
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