Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Een Beetje Risken

Did you know that the Dutch actually have a unique verb for playing the classic board game, "Risk" (om te risken)? You know, "the game of world domination" where you try to cover the whole globe with game pieces of your color... I just think it's funny to assign a verb to such an obscure part of life. It would be like saying in English, "I risked with a bunch of friends last night" or "I monopolied with my home group over the weekend." Not that it's wrong or right. I'm sure, in fact, that there are equally quirky parts of the English language that sound equally quirky in the ears of a Dutch speaker -- but it can be fun to learn the differences!

At any rate, my good friend Sander found this website where you can chart out your own personal game of Risk -- that is, if you feel comfortable with extending the analogy of world conquest to travel and tourism (follow the link to create your own map). It's kind of fun -- and eye-opening -- to look at the breadth (or what would be the antonym of "breadth"?) of one's experience in light of the breadth of one's inexperience.

I'm humbled by how little of the world I've seen. There's so much more gray on the above map than there is red. And what's more, I fully realize that I've got way more red on the map than what realistically expresses my experience of the world. A few trips to Toronto and Winnipeg, completely contained within a couple hours' of driving along the southern swath of Ontario and Manitoba -- and I've got the whole of Canada... Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Texas, and Maine -- all reddened on the map despite never having set foot on these extremeties of my native United States of America... Three days in Stockholm and two days in Barcelona give me huge chunks of red in Sweden and Spain that are grossly disproportionate to my true understanding of these lands... It's crazy to realize how limited my experience of the world truly is.

And yet in comparison with the average citizen of the world (or even with the elite strata of society from just one hundred years ago) -- my experience of the world is vast and varied. Interesting stuff to think about, isn't it?


At 8:15 PM, Blogger Sander Chan said...

The few weeks in Shenzen was good enough to colour some 10% of the landmass red. Not to mention the week in St. Peterburg!
You're right, the country specific colouring does give a distorted image!


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