It is inspiriting without doubt to whizz in a motor-car round the earth, to feel Arabia as a whirl of sand or China as a flash of rice-fields. But Arabia is not a whirl of sand and China is not a flash of rice-fields. They are ancient civilizations with strange virtues buried like treasures. If we wish to understand them it must not be as tourists or inquirers, it must be with the loyalty of children and the great patience of poets. To conquer these places is to lose them.”
― GK Chesterton, Heretics
Only now when I read Chesterton do I realize how deeply he has influenced my thinking and dispositions. My hatred of tourism as a pursuit is no doubt inspired not just by living in a tourist hell, but by my teenage exposure to Chesterton’s musing on the how the spirit of adventure is better sated by the backyard, then a trip across the world.