August 23, 2013

Waldo Finds Himself

"Wherever I go, there I am."

Waldo, (Willy in the UK, Charlie in France, Ali in Turkey, and Hetti in India) of the Where's Waldo series, was a world traveler for a while. For one year the distinctive book character could be found in a children's magazine featuring illustrations depicting him in crowds in special places all over the world.

Many people are doing the same and 'pulling a Waldo' for a weekend, or a week or two at a time, depending on available holiday time. They are 'getting away' and hiding themselves in crowds the planet over.

Often travel seems more like hiding from the stick, rather than being drawn by the carrot. People attempting to recover from busy lives that are beating them down by taking trips and blending into the background of far away exotic places.

The market for international vacations is growing by about 4% per year. 2012 marked the first time in history that total international trips taken in one year passed the 1 billion milestone globally.

Numb from the endless work of keeping up with the Jones', people fly from one destination to another in a search of respite and some much needed relaxation. Turns out it can be more difficult than trying to find Waldo in a double page spread of an Australian beach scene.

Waldo can hide from you (and his boss), but he can't hide from himself.

Wally's exploits in world travel (and getting lost in crowds) were documented in 52 Wally's World magazine issues in 1997-98. They provided enjoyable geography lessons for kids in 14 countries, none of whom had to leave home to learn about their planet.

Since then Waldo has settled down as his restlessness has dissipated, and his jet setting ways have mellowed to a gentle pace.

As Waldo slowed down he came to the realization that wherever he went, there he was. When the newness and excitement of his trips wore off, as always inevitably happened, he was back to square one.

He stopped, and looked in the mirror in a moment of reckoning.

You might be able to run and hide for a short while, but like Waldo, you will eventually realize you can't escape the fact of who and what you are.

Waldo took the ultimate voyage and traveled within. In the process he found peace and contentment, right where he is at.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12/28/2014

    'Nobody goes there. It cannot be experienced.'

    I could get the first half of your story above the picture.
    The rest, I fail to understand. Even though it might be intended as some sort of cheek-in-tongue sarcasm or whatever.
    Martin Handford the British writer of these books has an estimated Net Worth of $20 Million and likes to stay away from the public. I just reckon he's globe-trotting the world more NOW than ever before, be it by yaught, plane or mobile home doing yoga occasionally to lift up his spirit or to get away from his much too loud spoiled children. It is the privilege of the rich that gave in to the establishment to live life to the full. They've only got one after all. But the luck comes at a price for others.

    Later on Matt Harding picked up on the very same idea, although with a twist, a series of youtube video's going by the name of 'Where the hell is Matt', where he did a dance with locals, factious visiting 50 countries and posting four second videos of each and every visit. How was he able to fund his massive ecological footprint? He was sponsored by VISA!

    The sort of happy image he created, make ignorant people think he's a smart guy, and he deserves it, while he in fact is as big a hypocrite as one can get in that his marketing campaign involved exploiting people and the planet for his needs. To me this was a totally appalling variation on the 'where is Wally or Waldo' theme.

    Never be clever. Stay where you are and make it a better place instead of escaping to tourist destinations as a sort of promised land and thereby distorting (not supporting!) local economies, corrupting a sane mentality and polluting the environment in general. Cultural neoliberal imperialism driven by consumer industries and big corporations (1%>99%). There, I said it. Never mention occupy. Work, buy, consume and die! Escape or be consumed.
    That is, if you can maintain (or even get) a job, donate your savings to bank corporations even to the extend of paying negative interest in the near future, and pay your taxes while big corporations pay next to nothing and get bailed by you the deprived and less needy. That's where the real Waldo lives his invisible fortunate life.

    A Non Flying Dutchman


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