76-Second Travel Show: “Potter versus Potter”

Episode #038
F E A T U R I N G * 8 5 * B O N U S * S E C O N D S

Andrew Potter calls travel the ‘quest for difference,’ and that the more different the better. Sure about that? I think it comes a lot closer to home that too. And his case that searching for authenticity is a ‘hoax,’ which comes as a ‘betrayal and sin’ against humanity and modernity, comes a little thinly argued — to me. At least once he moves from art and marketing to travel.

I decided to put his Authenticity Hoax to the test versus another Potter: Harry. At the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

In the end, I’m not sure who won, but I had fun — particularly mixing with people whose ongoing search comes with shrieks, delirium, personal financial sacrifice and a joy that rubs off.

About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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5 Responses to 76-Second Travel Show: “Potter versus Potter”

  1. RobertKCole says:

    I have to agree with the sage group of TBEX’ers that Travel is not just “the quest for difference” and only partially agree with Gary Arndt that travel is about “what’s new.”

    Many travelers prefer to return to the same familiar destination – it can become a ritual. That does not make it an inauthentic experience, and in this case, it is not a new experience.

    Now while I can’t be counted among those who enjoy constantly repeating trips to destinations, I also can’t denigrate those that enjoy these repeat visits.

    For me, the definition of travel certainly involves traveling to a different place (one that may be new or familiar), but the most important aspect is that the travel provides an authentic experience for the traveler.

    The impact and benefit of travel experiences can only truly known to the individual.

    Reading a book on an uninhabited white sand beach, flying Virgin Galactic, shopping on Manhattan’s lower east side, or visiting Dollywood are all viable authentic travel experiences for different people.

    Travel is an intensely personal activity, but also a highly social pursuit. It is not solely defined by where we go or who we travel with. The authenticity of travel lies in how it enriches our lives.

  2. Melanie says:

    Wow. I really thought we’d done better when we said “no it isn’t!” More coffee needed next time!

    Nice meeting you at TBEX, if only briefly.

  3. sharon says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog and looking forward for more.

  4. Robert Reid says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Robert Reid says:

    Thanks all for the comments.

    Melanie, I think that the ‘no, it isn’t’ is pretty good for a first effort though! I really expected something more pitiful — which I probably would have used.

    Robert, appreciate your comments on Andrew’s book. I think he has some great points, and I enjoyed the book, but thought letting kitschy Trabi Tours stand for all ‘communism-oriented’ travel isn’t setting up a fair fight.

    South Pacific dancers make create touristy dance shows they never do for themselves, but Bulgarians are singing their songs and dancing traditional songs for real — particularly in the new-found national freedom after communism’s fall, and the weight of the USSR lifted.

    But is it ‘authentic’?

    I simply have to believe you can find ‘authentic’ experiences traveling – though it’s largely on how removed you put that word from ‘real,’ which A Potter does.

    And, importantly, it ISN’T acting.

    MY experience with the Potter Pilgrims (not necessarily the park, which I enjoyed though) was certainly meaningful — their enthusiasm of an amusement park was as powerful as you can find anywhere. And joys like that rubs off, makes you experience/understand places/people/films! more deeply.

    Glad I had that chance.

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