[excerpted from Fixing You]
the main difficulty with traveling, other than being eaten by carnivorous fish or having an "everyone here is very tan and speaks in gibberish"-related panic attack in the middle of the world's largest shopping mall or something, is adjusting to the little things, the tiny cultural differences that make life living: don't touch the food, don't look directly at sweet bitches or someone will cut off your hand, the mosquitoes have AIDS, there is no internet access unless you go to the city, nearly three hundred miles downriver, past the golden temple. THERE IS NO GODDAMN INTERNET. not 2.0, 1.0, little-known intermediate web technologies like web 1.5. nothing! plus there are sensitivity issues to worry about: how do you approach tiny japanese without being crippled by guilt, knowing that they've already lived through the 21st and 22nd centuries once, are aggressively fixing up the 23rd century with nanobots and thermonuclear magic spells at the moment (contemporary japan is what the 23rd century will look like if we make sexbots not only legal but *mandatory*), and now here you come with your stupid questions about "how do they make tempura" and "why did the police outfit me with this GPS-enabled dog collar when i got off the plane in tokyo," things like that. plus, cultural solidarity is one thing, open-mindedness is one thing, but why are all the muslims dressed like assholes? you see? you dropped out of georgetown's medieval studies program before getting the degree, which was the right move, everyone thinks so, but you never did take that acting class you'd been so excited about - so how are you going to convincingly act like you don't know how much better your country is than, uh, theirs? all of them really.
worthies, the world is just too difficult to understand. did you see the part about no internet web? it's not available in alaska, indeed most of the u.s. west of the mississippi river (minus san francisco, obviously), so what are the chances they've discovered the internet in bangalore, paris, the picturesque mountains of switzerland? answer: the chances are very very small, and you can't take that kind of risk. you're not a gambler, you're an exceptionally talented and stylishly-appointed urban elite. you can't bring mohammed to the mountain because he's been put in a secret government prison on the floating magical island of west frandisco. but someone has to be brought to the mountain; the gods demand it. it just doesn't have to be you. nor do you want the mountain brought here; it's trivia night at Foster's and you can't duck out of it, not when you have to defend your "80's sitcoms"-themed record-setting title last week. someone else can babysit the mountain.
well so the alternative is to make like a grownup and stay home. but how? no american is truly cultured unless he or she has traveled the world, and yet we've shown through careful logic that travel is impermissible if not simply impossible, never mind pricy - god even if you can lifehack your tickets into a first-class upgrade from coach you're still looking at ten, maybe thirty thousand american dollars to get a seat on a giant spacegoing quantum shark-jet, and who has that kind of money lying around? other than famous personal american productivity guru/authors who spend their nights covered in locally-grown honey and rolling around in four-foot-deep piles of authors'-advance cash, "lucre" really, who has that kind of money in today's enlightened western world?
so if you can't go abroad - and you can't - you have to find a way to make HERE more like THERE, without all the "charming" local "flavor" that the emaciated non-digitally-savvy citizens of THERE think is so special precious dear to their ancestors in the dreamtime or whatever but is, when you get down to it, basically las vegas with cheaper whores and lower production values. which, sure, *awesome* in a way, but remember: no internet...