It’s impossible to capture or define the “real” anywhere

“We tend to use the word “real” to differentiate what tourists see in a modern-day city or place, versus what the locals, who have a much deeper and intimate familiarity with its nuanced culture and details, know or experience. Few New Yorkers flock to Times Square for dinner on a Saturday night, just as few native New Orleans residents spend their time hanging out on Bourbon Street. They pride themselves, in fact, on knowing the little hole-in-the-wall neighborhood eateries, bars, stores, and music venues that appeal less to the masses and retain more of a particular group’s or neighborhood’s personality and character. The trouble arises when we try to clarify what constitutes the “real” character of a place beyond those basic distinctions. …On some level, it’s impossible to capture or define the “real” anywhere, because places are not just fixed buildings you can point to. They’re a melding of culture, viewpoint, character, detail and experience. And every person’s experience of a place, group, event or culture is unique.”
–Lane Wallace, What Makes a Place ‘Real’? The Atlantic, May 11, 2010

Posted by | Comments (1)  | July 25, 2011
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

One Response to “It’s impossible to capture or define the “real” anywhere”

  1. Davis Says:

    We travel through a dreamscape. In a dream the mind weaves stray thoughts into a narrative, because the mind demands a narrative. We do the same thing with the stray impressions that come to us, undigested and unexplained, as we pass through a foreign place. Two people, seeing the same place, will see different things, just as two people sleeping in the same bed will have different dreams.