Though sometimes it can be tiring and draining, especially on road trips, I love to travel. It's so much fun to get away from it all, and see something different for a change. After my recent trip, I was exhausted, but I did enjoy myself. However, as I watched the scenery pass throughout the cities I passed, I could not help but see all the chains.

I read of a book title once called "In Same We Trust," and I guess the basic idea behind it is the story of how franchises were born into our lives and why they thrive. What really gets me, though, is that more and more, every city you go to (at least a lot of the more metropolitan ones) seems to be a clone of the others. How boring.

Personally, when I go someplace I've never before been, I want to see what that place is really like. Despite the fact that I enjoy the food at certain restaurant chains, that doesn't mean I want to eat there on vacation. I want something unique to the area, as every place you go to has something unique to offer. But according to the previously mentioned book, people tend to trust what they know. They would rather go to Olive Garden than a locally owned, semi-authentic restaurant that actually makes their own pasta instead of using the frozen pre-made stuff. I mean seriously, where's the sense of adventure in that? I want to go somewhere and try new food, or try old food with a few new flavors or spices thrown in there. It's all part of broadening our horizons, and universal similarity is not the way to accomplish this.

I also find that there are a variety of businesses that are open all over, but other than people making a lot of money, there's absolutely no reason to have more than one such store in the whole world. A book store is a book store. They sell books. Why are there so many Barnes and Nobles, and Border's? The owners of these businesses are making a fortune, especially too with the addition of online stores. I find local book stores, though not always appealing to everyone, to be quite enjoyable. The staff tend to be more knowledgeable, and more often than not, they know the whole store, not just one section. Currently, used book stores are my favorite.

But I'm losing focus. I suppose tourism isn't what it used to be, but now I imagine it's pretty hard to draw visitors to your city when the culture people used to visit for is replaced by the culture shared by everyone. I said it before and I'll say it again. It is our differences that bring us together, but make us truly enjoy others' company. Likewise, differences among places in terms of culture, food, social life, etc., brings us together more and makes us all more well-rounded people. As we are continually encouraged via media, ads, politics, and society at large, we should keep in mind that things don't have to be the way others say they do.

So the next time you're craving your favorite burger from Chili's, put it on hold and try something new. Chances are you'll be glad you did.