The Digital Journalism Blog

View of the World…From My Couch

By Bob Paarlberg

There I sit on my couch.  The coffee table before me strewn with empty dishes, dirty silverware, a room mate’s half drunk cup-a-joe from Monday, a half deck of playing cards and my bowl of ramen. I’m watching the Travel Channel, one of my favorites because nothing makes me feel better when I’m sitting on a couch than watching people travel the world.  Echoes of Joe Klein’s Robison Lecture repeating in my mind, “better world citizen…better world citizen.”  I come to the resolution that, yeah, I should do that. I should travel.Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the great opportunity to travel to a few wonderful places that serve as some of the greatest memories of my life.  But that doesn’t mean I should stop and it certainly doesn’t mean that I’ve seen enough.  I mean, I’ve watched enough TV in my time to know that there are a lot more things to do than watch TV, all of which I’ve learned through watching TV. Truly a vicious circle, but that’s a story for another day.  I don’t know who watches the Travel Channel or any other programming like it, but it’s great and it’s revelatory.  

I’d like to postpone the responsibilities and worries of the “real world.” Well, in all honesty, I’d like to completely avoid them if it were possible, but it’s not.  But before I allow my life to be consumed by the stress over bills, I’d like to live a life of debauchery traveling around a little while.  Maybe not debauchery, but I want to pig out, drink, and experience something that is entirely foreign to me. 

Could you imagine eating cow heart, pig brain, or live squid on a daily basis?  More than half of the world’s population does that.  Even more startling is that many people are more comfortable eating the aforementioned “delicacies” than peanut butter.  What might be strange and exotic to me is a taste of home for someone else. That’s something worth trying.

For the time being, however, I’ll simply stay on my couch watching TV thinking that one day I’l travel somewhere, because from where I stand (or sit), the world has never looked so good.


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