Zachary is a student at my school. It is, of course, not my school. It just happens that Zach and I frequent the same educational institution. But that is not important. Important is the fact that Zach has never been outside the Yukon. Well, that is not quite true. He has been to Vancouver once for some medical exam, and to Edmonton, where he spent a few days at the Mall.
Being a teenager in his last year of high school, he is, obviously, connected to the Internet; he can google just about anything, read up on important events, and educate himself, and stay abreast the state of the world. He considers himself, at least in an electronical sense, a global (or, at least, a globally connected) individual and would tell anybody who wants to know that he does believe this to be limiting his horizons
Thanks to YouTube, Google, or whatever apps he loaded onto his I-Phone, he is experienced in looking at, and listening to, people from around the world. These contacts are, for the most part, the result of someone else sending him a “like” link but occasionally he did make an effort to find a cyber target on his own. In this fashion he enjoys the people and the natural beauty of the world without having to leave his bedroom (the place where he spends most of his time).
On account of the above observations one could think that Zach is not a good candidate to go to Frankfurt (and further). The truth, however, is that, despite the cyber connectivity, he is missing out if he were not on that plane.
I remember once watching a documentary on the Normandy Landings. A statement by one of the veterans struck me as odd. The deepest impression from that experience, he said, was the smell; not the noise, not the images, but the smell.
Which brings me back to Zach who has the audio and the visuals of the world, but he certainly does not have the smells. This is not to say that smell is the most important sense to stimulate in order to experience other places. It is more the suggestion that there are more than images and sounds to complement, or complete, an experience. Seeing people interact in Rome, hearing traffic noises and bits of human conversation in concert with the honking of cars in Dubrovnik, deciphering the aromas that waft over a market in Lisbon or Dublin, catching the blur of a scooter in an alley in Saigon, being squeezed into a subway car in London, or feeling the cool breeze in a museum in Cairo are, in my mind, constituent elements of the experience of a foreign place. And this is not even considering the air of excitement in Pamplona or the exotic ambiance of a coffee house in Marrakech.
Zach ought to have all of that.
Unfortunately there are only two seats to be had in this competition. I know many Zacharys and could use the whole plane.