You may not have been able to guess this about me (or maybe you did) but I’m a bit of a news junkie. I have a bit of an addiction where I need to know what’s happening and where.

One of the top few things I’m proud of while being abroad has been my ability to get more in touch with global news and affairs. There’s no better way to know what’s happening in a certain place then to be there and to pay attention. If I’m headed to another country, I feel I should at least know what’s happening there. That’s why I read the news. I want to know, no matter how frustrating and unsettling the news can be.

So while I’ve been abroad I’ve tried to read the local papers, understand the local politics and get a sense of what’s happening where I’m at. But, at the same time, I’m also paying much more attention to global news. That’s because I’m meeting people from all over the world; I’m learning that so many countries’ internal affairs are dictated by external forces from every corner of the globe. This is very much a global society, for better and worse, and I firmly believe knowing as much as possible about the world helps you understand all those little things too.

I know a lot of people who relentlessly believe reading newspapers and watching news broadcasts is bad for you. Many people I’ve spoken to feel that reading the news frustrates and depresses people–unnecessarily so. They’re wrong and this is why.

Because I feel guilty.

I don’t read the news everyday. I don’t even check my e-mail everyday anymore. Back in America, especially while working 9-5, I probably checked news websites every hour like so many other people I know. Now, I get the news in spurts when I quickly download it to my iPod or in the last 10 minutes of my Internet time.

So even though I feel much more “in touch” with the world around me, I’m more distant than ever. There’s this constant feeling in my stomach that there are so many big and positive things happening around the world everyday, and I’m not a part of it. I’m off on a day of “foodspotting” in Bangkok; visiting ancient temples in Delhi; drinking from a coconut in Goa; or even just on Skype catching up with my parents.

I’m beginning to feel guilty for being away for so long (10 months and counting). It’s news from abroad and from home that makes me feel this way. I miss being so connected. I miss being able to say to someone… “Did you hear what’s happening in Libya… in Congress… in Iran…”

Many people may travel to escape the day-to-day news, which I admit doesn’t account for much when taken in single doses. But when news from around the world really adds up, when it amounts to big changes, that’s when I feel guilty.

And that’s a good thing because it’s made me realize what I really want from life. I want to be more involved, not just as a spectator but as…an activist. Activist isn’t the right word–too many negative connotations unfortunately. But I want to be involved with the world around me. With the big things. With the little things. Because it all adds up.

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10 comments

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  1. I hate reading the news. I am like the people that you mentioned at the front of your post. News depresses me and I stay clear away from it and any talk of politics. 

  2. I hate reading the news. I am like the people that you mentioned at the front of your post. News depresses me and I stay clear away from it and any talk of politics. 

  3. Serena

    First of all, great thoughts. I’m enjoying catching up on your posts since I found your blog. I, too, feel that one must know at least the current events of a country before they step foot in it. If they aren’t aware of them or its history, politics, etc. then they are just cheating themselves out of what should be a multidisciplinary learning experience as well as a vacation.

    Second, this post made me think when I was living in Peru. I too feel guilty when I’m in the US and I’m not up to date on US politics and events. But what’s strange is that guilt totally disappeared when I was in Peru. I was trying to involve myself in their politics and culture, and I must say I liked the fact that I felt so far removed from the US. It was a weight off my shoulders. Then the healthcare bill passed. Then I started realizing what monumental changes could be happening in America. I’ve always wanted to be involved and an “active” participant in the world. But I realized that I can still be an “activist” while abroad because I could now view US politics (and other countries’ politics/events) from a different perspective. I think seeing your country through the eyes of another is valuable as well.

  4. Interesting post. I think I read the news a lot more than some travellers (based on my conversations) but I also get really frustrated when I delve into US News for any length of time. I think it’s important but so much of what’s out their is infuriating. This is part of why I really don’t want to be in the county during the 2012 election. I almost think I can better deal with it and process it abroad then I can at home when I can’t really see the forest for the circus of trees.

    • Adam

      Good point about the 2012 election. It’s been on my mind too and I’m almost to the point where I think the only way I could get through it is if I actually get involved with it and volunteer for a campaign.

  5. Lynette

    Perhaps you need to invent a new word. Activist brings images to mind like burning flags and splattering animal blood. I love your energy. Keep on going, Adam!

    • Adam

      Inventing a new word sounds like a good idea… Just have to get the creative juices flowing.

      And thanks Lynette!

  6. Anonymous

    Same feeling I got when I went through Egyptian revolution here. I want to understand, to have an opinion, to get involved if it’s the case. I don’t want to sit on my couch watching the news, but be an activist if this is the right word to define it.

    • Adam

      It feels good to be involved. Or at the very least aware.

  7. Well we all need a purpose of sorts – being idle is sure fun as hell but certain things just get gnawing so one a while and the trick is to head to where ‘those things’ are pushing you without missing the fun.

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