Travel the back roads
“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.