One of the enduring role models in my life is James Bond. His confident coolness under pressure with a slight twist of British humor has always appealed to me. As a world traveler, my “inner James Bond” allots time to approach new experiences abroad from a deeper perspective.
In understanding 007’s personal appeal, it is important to distinguish between a trip and a vacation. A trip involves an obligation to visit strictly for pleasure as an outside visitor while a vacation additionally allows one to learn and grow internally as a person. In Bond’s new movie, Spectre, 007 prepares for a Mexico City journey by disguising himself in a white suit and skull mask on the “Day of the Dead.” His vacation attire shows a keen awareness of the Mexican reverence for the deceased on this sacred holiday. In my life, an African Safari trip transformed into a vacation as a result of a similar cultural insight. By joining a Masaai Tribe dance ritual in Kenya, my actions led to a subsequent exchange of ideas about tech devices with a tribal chief. Without question, Africa came alive to me then.
Any Bond movie displays technology at its cutting edge. In Spectre, as the plane Bond courageously pilots explodes in the sky, 007 miraculously lands it by activating its hidden snowmobile apparatus. As Bond surrounds himself with such advanced gadgetry, a feeling of invincibility cannot be denied .Having an iPhone for travel has similarly improved my attitude about survival in a strange country. Walking to dinner in the confusing maze of Lisbon’s Alfama District, my ability to utilize my phone GPS Tracking system made finding my way in the dark possible. My “inner Bond” won again. When I feel lost in a strange land, a short Skype call to my family restores a semblance of protection.
Is spite of Bond’s confidence to prevail in all situations, it is ironic that he begins to question his violent ways in Spectre. In a closing scene, he is asked how he justifies killing a human life. With deep regret, 007 humbly replies that he has learned the value of not pulling the trigger when possible now. People may interpret this thought as the end of the Bond era but I see it more as a plea to stop glorifying guns today. Would a pacifist Bond character in the future makes sense?
The hypocrisies of violence appall me in my travels. How could the Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany offer a pastoral park impression? Why are Russian Medals for military glory sold as cheap souvenirs at the former site of the Berlin Wall? How is it possible to build towering monuments for ruthless Portuguese conquistadors in Lisbon? As 007 sips contentedly on his perfect vodka martini, I desire his explanation for such lies. His answer would truly inspire me: My character of James Bond was mere movie fiction just as these lies you described could never be truly believed. It is up to you to create your own script in your travels as a message of peace.
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