Travel the back roads

This charming Cape Cod, MA street, which I photographed in 2009, is just one example of many attractive small towns throughout America and the world.

This charming street on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which I photographed in 2009, is just one example of many attractive small towns throughout America and the world.

“To read the papers and to listen to the news… one would think the country is in terrible trouble. You do not get that impression when you travel the back roads and the small towns do care about their country and wish it well.”Charles Kuralt

Recently I’ve had to sharply curtail my exposure to news reporting in both online and print versions (I haven’t watched TV for years).  With all our current challenges, I simply could not afford to add discouragement to my life.  “If it bleeds, it leads,” the saying goes, and the advent of 24/7 news stations has only made this worse as production teams scramble to find titillating sound bites, worrisome speculation, or outright gossip to fill their airwaves and bring in viewers.

Since I travel a good bit, I cannot help noticing that what I see and hear is in marked contrast to the supposedly accurate press I read.  Wherever I go, most of the people I meet are courteous, friendly or at least benign.  Increasingly diverse populations live together, for the most part, in cooperation and peace.  Attractive, well kept homes and appealing towns adorn almost every place I visit, and I return from my travels feeling encouraged about the state of my country and the world.  Yes, there are many bad or disappointing experiences, but there are still far more blessings, if we seek and notice them.  I often wonder whether people who lived even a century ago would think us mad to be unhappy with such abundance and opportunity.

Next time you find yourself feeling low, try unplugging from the constant barrage of largely irrelevant news hype that creates so much noise in our world and inside our heads.  Get out, reach out and find out how much there is to celebrate.

19 Comments

  1. Patricia Salamone

    You are right Julia, I remember those times, before the media and rag papers. It was a wonderful era and I am glad that I was part of it. Good job.:o)

    • Thanks, Patricia! There are so many wonderful people out there, doing good things that never get noticed by the media. I’m glad I grew up during the 50’s and 60’s. Whenever some new catastrophe hits the airwaves, I tell my husband “It’s a great time to be old!” 🙂 Only half joking.

  2. Since I retired, I hardly read the papers except to check the weather. I feel happier for it. Really!

    • I am making an effort to ignore the newspapers as much as I can lately, and I agree, life is better without it. Thanks for visiting here!

  3. Julia, I’m afraid I have become a news junkie. Your post has helped me to decide to cut way back on it, or perhaps just eliminate it all together. It IS so very depressing. Philippians 4:8 comes to mind. Love and prayers continue for you and Jeff.

    • Nelda, thanks so much for your kind words and prayers. My undergraduate degree was in Political Science/Communications, and I have written for college and city newspapers (did you know I was once a stringer for the Lompoc Record?). So I have a deep interest in journalism and any sort of writing. I think Jeff would describe me as a “printed word junkie” meaning I read not only newspapers, but junk mail and cereal boxes :-)! But I have come to realize that much of what appears in newspapers is not objective, not relevant to my life and not as essential as many other things that go undone while I “stay informed.” It’s going to be a long, hard process, but I’m gradually learning to practice more discernment about what I spend my time reading. Philippians 4:8 is indeed a good reminder for me. Thanks for being here and for your comments.

  4. Mike Bertoglio

    Sad commentary on contemporary news media. Our local news staff seem seem to follow Yahoo internet blurbs with their u-tube videos of the day. Yes if it bleeds it leads.
    This pict reminds me of the Marietta town square -very quaint.

    • Yes, Mike, this photo is similar to so many charming towns we have seen over the years. Once in awhile it’s quite refreshing just to travel to a nearby town, even (or especially) if it’s not a tourist destination, and take in the local sights, read the historic markers, eat at a little cafe in town, and listen to the residents chat. I’ve come to believe that people have much more in common than is generally publicized. I can’t remember going anywhere in the world where I did not find at least a few friendly, welcoming people.

  5. victoria k. copp

    I have not watched TV for a few years. I am aware there are problems but the hype and negativity only makes us focus on what’s wrong. God blesses us in so many ways. Let us look for them, even anticipate them!

    • I agree, Victoria. I quit watching TV over 20 years ago and have never missed it, although cutting back on the newspapers is going to be a bit harder. It helps to think of it as freeing up time for other, more rewarding and helpful pursuits. When we seek to notice our blessings we really will find what we are looking for, I think. Thanks for being here.

  6. What an absolutely adorable town. The Boulevard is so whimsical. We actually try to watch our National News nightly and feel odd if we miss it for a few days. I always feel very isolated by watching American news, there’s rarely any coverage of whats going on in the world outside the US and like you say, a lot of it is hype and not really news at all. It’s probably just a Canadian thing, but the newscasters on American channels seem to practically be ‘yelling’ their coverage at you. I always think, “geez, tone it down, I’m not deaf” LOL

    • I agree that TV is too LOUD and after going so many years without watching it, it’s hard to stand it when I’m in a waiting room with the TV blaring. The commercials are even worse when it comes to noise; they get even louder than the regular programming. And on all the shows, the people seem continually to interrupt each other, talk over each other, etc. Next time I’m in Canada, I’ll have to check out the Canadian TV stations! Probably a bit like PBS here.

      • OM-gosh Julia, we are totally on the same channel here 😉 I was at a medical appoint not too long ago & the TV in the waiting room was blaring with a BIG sign that warned you not to touch the TV. I was beginning to think I was the only one who noticed. We have a hard time in restaurants too. Same thing, music is so loud you can’t even visit. I also don’t watch any of the chat show’s, they’re all competing to see who can over-talk the most, pretty impolite really. I just find it’s nicer to hear the news delivered in a much more calm way. It seems some networks are all about selling fear, angst, look out!, political turmoil with a million exclamation points. I guess ‘fear mongering’ sells.

        • Unfortunately, all that junk must sell or they wouldn’t keep doing it. Re: noisy restaurants — We are in the habit of asking for a table “in the most quiet location” of restaurants we go to, mostly because our son gets over-stimulated with too much noise. Recently we went into a restaurant where the music was blaring, and after we asked politely to be seated in the most quiet area, they turned the music down! 🙂 I’m hoping people are starting to catch on that noise pollutes the atmosphere. I guess we could try to start a “quiet people revolt!” movement, but it wouldn’t take off; quiet people don’t want to make noise!

  7. Sheila

    Julia,the quaint little town stayed in my ” mind’s eye” all day. You are spoiling me with such beautiful and diverse posts everyday. I was very glad to read that Jeff had waxed two cars and was feeling up to that and more. Bill has seen patients two days simultaneously so we are thankful for that. His desire to help others is his strength. Together in this,Sheila

    • Sheila, as always I really appreciate your kind words about the blog. Jeff is feeling a bit better tonight than he usually does right after chemo. I’m so glad Bill has been able to see patients for two days. What is his field? Jeff is a dentist, although he directs the Air Force residency program for new dentists, so he doesn’t have as much clinical time as he used to, except to direct his residents. He sounds like your husband, in that he really feels better if he is able to be doing and helping. He has been working every day that he is not taking treatments. I pray they both are able to keep going as long as possible! Thanks for being here.

      • Sheila

        Bill is a Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist and has practiced in Myrtle Beach,SC since 1983. Dedication and caring certainly seems like similar traits and character of our husbands. We so seem to be traveling by faith and placed in each others lives. Sheila

        • That’s right! I remember your telling me that before, I had just forgotten about it. He is definitely filling a much-needed role, and there are so many exciting advances in that field. Yes, their dedication is something that affects everything they do, with family and work alike. I am very thankful!

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