The palm trees are greener
May 10, 2019
by Ivan Raconteur

It occurred to me as I was pensively sipping Tahitian Treat after a long day at the office that people often seem to want what they don’t have.

For example, as I contemplated the palm trees on the can, set against a backdrop of a tropical sun, I decided I’d be ready to take the next plane to a tropical paradise. It’s not that I am dissatisfied with my current situation. It’s more a matter of the palm trees being greener on the other side of the fence.

That’s not an unusual thought. For example, it is easy to see why one who lives among the indigenous Saami people in Lapland might dream of warmer climates.

As I thought about this, I wondered if it worked in reverse, too.

If, I hypothesized, it is human nature to want what we don’t have, does it follow that this is true no matter what their situation?

Is it possible that someone who has spent his life in a tropical rainforest might dream of packing up his portmanteau and emigrating to Barrow, AK just for a change of pace?

Could it be that there are those among the San peoples of the Kalahari Desert who lie awake at night wondering what it would be like to take a job on a fishing boat in the North Sea?

We tend to filter things based on our own experience. Many people from northern climates might equate paradise with a warmer place. Anecdotal evidence supports this. It’s not possible to swing a cat in southern Florida without hitting a retiree from one of the northern states.

It seems odd, though, to think of it the other way around.

But why shouldn’t someone who has been hot every day of his life crave the cool breezes and long winters of someplace like northern Minnesota? Why would it surprise us if someone who has spent his days under drought conditions want to live somewhere wet?

I think we need to keep an open mind. For the sake of scientific discovery, I am prepared to take an extended trip to Barbados or the Cayman Islands to do research on where the average person would like to live if they could go anywhere they liked. It would be a tough job, but I’m willing to do it to further our understanding of our tropical brothers and sisters.

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