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It’s generally accepted that travel broadens the mind. The more a person travels, the more they learn.

And yet, the more I spend time in different places the less I know about the world … apparently.

In recent months I’ve been told a variation of “Ah, but you don’t know what it’s like here now” relating to three different countries. A trend is developing. As soon as I leave somewhere to move on to pastures new, it changes beyond recognition. Don’t like the place you live? Invite me to stay, it’ll change radically the second I leave. Love the country where you live, then you don’t want me anywhere near as it might go to hell in a handcart the second I move on, given that everywhere changes after I leave.

The “you don’t know what it’s like here now” is obviously a technique employed to try to gain the upper hand in an argument when the user has run out of bullets, but it’s one which annoys the hell out of me.

I don’t know enough to have a valid opinion about the places I’ve lived. Maybe you ‘un-learn’ things when you move on, and yet, conversely, I read alt-news and MSM articles whose authors write authoritatively about politics in a country I know from first-hand experience, but which they may never have set foot in. You can learn theory in a lecture hall, but it’s far more difficult to gain an understanding of how cultural traits/habits impact on life and politics, so some regularly get it wrong; I’ve witnessed designer socialists support right wing politicians because, well, their knowledge comes from what they’ve been fed rather than knowledge gained in situ.

When it comes to COVID-19, I see statistics being thrown around willy-nilly with nary a reference to how the cultural habits of different countries, which separate one place from the next, may have contributed to spikes. When you have some idea of what these cultural habits are, a rise in COVID-19 cases in the likes of Spain, Southern France, and parts of Portugal during summer came not as a surprise, but as an inevitability.

To travel is to gain knowledge; snippets here, huge chunks there depending on how long you stay in a place, and how much you embrace it. I have various news reports from Spain, Portugal, and Britain on my social media feeds; as well as posts by travel writers, tourist boards etc. that I’ve liked/followed from the numerous countries we’ve worked in. This collection of knowledge/sources of information is part of an organic evolvement when you travel, each creating a bigger, and often interlinked picture.

The daft thing, the fact which both exasperates and amuses, is when someone in an online discussion plays the “ah, but you don’t know what it’s like here now” card, they don’t seem to realise, thanks to this little thing called the internet, I can see exactly the same news they’re reading about the country they inhabit, as well as news/snippets/articles from the other countries I’ve lived in, or have an interest in. If we were to take their reasoning to the next level, they wouldn’t know anything about the other parts of their country either as they don’t actually live there.

And anyway, the best view of somewhere is often the one from a distance.

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Welcome to my Canvas

Some of the items on this site won’t be to everyone’s liking, I get that. Basically this is my place, my wee studio to mess around in – experimenting with words and thoughts. I’ll be chuffed if you enjoy it, but if you don’t, c’est la vie. As a friend used to tell me “it would be a boring life if we all thought the same.”

Jack Montgomery
A wine press,
On a farm at the end of the dirt track,
The Setúbal Peninsula,