Farming and gardening have a beneficial effect on society beyond providing food. They make staying at home a pleasure. They could become an effective treatment for travelholism, the affliction that affects people who can’t stop travelling.
Countless benefits would flow into society if we could cure travelholism. First of all there would be plenty of good food around— maybe so much that lots of it would be free. Secondly, unemployment would be reduced. Thirdly, with more people realizing how enjoyable and challenging it is to make the place where they live a homey little paradise, there would be less temptation to anti-social behavior. Fourthly, there would be no counting how many gallons of fuel would be saved. We could stop global warming in its tracks maybe. Fifthly, hundreds of thousands of people would not die or end up crippled from traffic accidents.
If someone started a blogsite called Travelholics Anonymous, it would probably go viral. Travelling is as much a part of our culture as the pursuit of sex and money but more and more people are realizing that it is just not that much fun anymore. But they can’t help themselves. Just as drunks understand the misery of hangovers but still keep on drinking, so travelholics keep on driving even though it means spending grueling hours on big highways fearfully staring at huge semi trucks lurching along on all sides.
Travelholics need to be able to call for help when they are suddenly seized with the urge to go some place. They need to talk to a garden farmer about the joys of staying home. They need a list on their refrigerators of all the reasons why they will live longer and happier if they can kick the travel habit. Like:
l. Sitting motionless on your butt while your wheels do the movement will not relieve your boredom. It will only transfer it to another place. The cause of boredom is in your head, not outside it.
2. With television screens the size of barn doors now and sound tracks accurate enough to pick up the sound of hummingbird wings on the other side of the lawn, you can watch sports or listen to music much better from your living room than from the stadium, theater or music hall.
Cultivating a garden is an effective antidote to travelholism because plants are very cunning. Strawberries, peas, muskmelons and sweet corn can sense when you are going on a trip and that’s when they will reach their highest level of eating quality. If you love really good food, you will soon schedule all travel during the winter and then when you get caught in a blizzard you will swear off highways and airports forever.
What is finally going to cure many travelholics is the electronic revolution. Instant illustrated messaging on smart phones keeps us constantly in contact with family and friends and so cabin fever will become a thing of the past. Also, although it is not yet generally publicized, certainly not in all those boring travel magazines, we will soon be able to recreate any place on earth (or moon) so realistically on huge computer screens, that you will feel as if you are actually there. You will be able to view the Grand Canyon electronically and swear that you are sitting in one of those glass cages that jut out over the real place. Eventually, if not already, there will be movie houses where you can sit comfortably while you seem to be actually walking through a jungle with tigers snarling at you and gorgeous butterflies fluttering about— you may even be able to hear mosquitoes but not get stung. The only reason this form of travel hasn’t been developed so much yet is that it is bad for the travel business.
Travelholics might conquer their addiction so completely that they would joyfully embrace working at home just for the privilege of never having to endure rush hour traffic again. The utter joy of being able to walk to work instead of driving will keep them happy even at minimum wages.