- 22 Aug 17
Less than 50% of US citizens have passports. But it is important for those that do, a US writer says, to travel in a spirit of open-ness and inquiry. The same, of course, is true for people here in Ireland.
Cruise ship hordes have been likened to marching ants, stolidly self-absorbed and secure in their identity and status, and marshalled ever-onwards by their guide-centurions. But why, other than Lucifer, would resentment surface now? Is it that things have suddenly reached a tipping point? Or are wider issues in play? Many cruise clients are American or Chinese: might there be a trace of xenophobia to it? Or is there a Trump factor?
We here on Hog Heights have always felt that any American who uses a passport should be welcome, given that over 50% of American adults don’t even have one. As a result we have had many great, wide-ranging conversations. There may not always have been a meeting of minds, but we could see that these were broadly inquisitive people keen to explore our common world.
There are complexities involved. In a lengthy, and fascinating, article for the Long Read series in The Guardian, for which she adapted her book Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World, the US journalist Suzy Hansen offers a much bleaker view. “Americans can no longer travel in foreign countries without noticing the strange weight we carry with us,” she writes. “In these years after the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the many wars that followed, it has become more difficult to gallivant across the world absorbing its wisdom and resources for one’s own personal use.”