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September 24th, 2012
06:37 PM ET

Clips From Friday: Andrew McCarthy says Americans have a fear of travel

On Friday, "Piers Morgan Tonight" welcomed actor-turned-author Andrew McCarthy for a candid and engaging face to face interview.

A four-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Award, given to honor men and women who have distinguished themselves in the field of exploration, the 49-year-old addressed the "Brat Pack" label attached to him in the early 1980's as a result of his work in such films as "Pretty in Pink" and "St. Elmo's Fire."

Nearly three decades since appearing alongside his contemporaries in those iconic movies, McCarthy has successfully segued into a career as an award-winning travel writer, boasting a new memoir entitled "The Long Way Home, One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down."

During his conversation with Piers Morgan, McCarthy detailed what he believes is a reluctance by Americans to visit other parts of the world:

"I think Americans don't travel because they are afraid," he said. "I think America is a great country...but we're a very fearful country. I think most of our political decisions are all based in fear. And I think if Americans traveled, they would see that the world is a much different place than they're led to believe it is, and that they think it is, and we're very insular."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as McCarthy shares with Morgan his personal experience of how traveling "turned my perspective completely out, from being totally in."
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soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. hawkechik

    Let me enlighten you Mr. "Americans are afraid to travel" McCarthy: traveling is *expensive*. Every time I price a trip abroad, the minimum amount I can come up with for a week for myself and my husband is about 5k. That's a lot of money. That's my mortgage payment for 8 months, our electricity for *two and a half years*, our groceries for a year, a new roof for the house, a decent used car (not pretty, but decent) and gas to run it for the next three years. Get out there and *ask* some people why they don't travel, I bet you'll be surprised.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Hetman Ute

    Who can afford to travel? How far and how? Now let me look in my bank account. Less than two dollars.
    It has been that way for over five years. I am too poor to travel. If I had somewhere I could be guaranteed safety and respect for my rights, I would go there, but there is no place like that anywhere in the world, not even in the USA.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. OhHoneyHoney

    i think the same of hawkechik and Hetman Ute and i'm in love of Andrew McCarthy.

    September 24, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Keri S

    I agree that the high cost of travelling is certainly one of the main reasons I believe many Americans don't travel abroad. I also believe, however, that unless you're travelling to Canada (a beauiful country!) or south of our border (Mexico, Central American countries, or somewhere in the Caribbean), that the time and distance is so great that it is a deterrent for many people, especially those people travelling with families. The workforce in our country is notorious for not having enough vacation time each year so most people don't want to spend 2 days travelling each way. It just eats into the time we have to enjoy our destination. Before marriage and kids, I travelled quite a bit overseas and enjoyed the journey, as well as the destination(s), but now that would not be the case. Many people I know have commented to me about my travels that they aren't brave enough to travel to some of the places I have been to, so I do have to agree that there is an element of fear (fear of the unknown) among Americans. Perhaps if Geography, and perhaps Anthropology, was taught more widely in our schools, more people would learn more about the world and other cultures and religions and not be so fearful.

    September 25, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 90domer

    I remember I got on this topic with my husband and later with my son's grammar school librarian to get a sense of what their feelings were on this subject. A couple different reasons came up. First, as states previously, jobs in the US don't offer generous vacation packages as they do in other countries. In my first job, I started with two weeks vacation for the first 5 years of service. 10 days isn't a whole lot of time off when it is spread over a year. That was the first conclusion we came to.

    Second, the US alone is a vast country. Often, many people choose to explore different parts of the US before venturing
    outside its borders, we concluded. And because of exchange rates, it is often more economical.

    As to whether Americans are fearful to travel abroad, I can imagine that many people that Mr. McCarthy meets that is likely the case. I certainly don't think he's trying to come across as arrogant in his statement, as he's a very self-depreciating person. Rather, I think he presents that statement as more of a challenge because he is so passionate about it.

    It does beg the question. Is there a certain mileage minimum that makes the trip more appealing? I certainly hope not.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. popbuff

    I agree with 90domer. Americans don't travel that much because we are such a vast country and we have too many bills to pay

    September 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bryan

    Traveling is possible even on a moderate income! The... we don't have money argument is bunk! What is comes down to is priority and lifestyle. I met 2 Americans the entire time I traveled abroad in S.E Asia. Why? Because when Americans plan a trip they book for Hilton or the Comfort Inn at a hundred dollars a night! They can't eat the local food... gasp! Never mind the fact that an entire populations of millions are eating it and don't kill over dead. All those that don't take their vacation in years and wear it like a badge of false pride are pathetic people. We place to much emphasis on time and money. Heaven forbid we stop and smell the roses! Prior to me leaving for S.E. Asia most didn't even know where that was. Some people thought I was crazy. Some thought I was going to die. Get robbed. Rapped. Run into a terrorist! I went to Vietnam and people acted like the war was yesterday. However I find it interesting that no one has problem going Germany. What I think Americans are really ignorant about is there false sense of superiority and freedom. I don't think most Americans realize that most other countries are just as FREE as you. Go to Vietnam! Communists phh please. 90% of everyone you run into owns a small business of some kind out of there home or in small shops. There isn't such thing as WALMART or HOME DEPOT OR COSTCO! Guess what i've never met more entrepreneurial people and sprit as I did in Vietnam! Engineering to mid level supply chains to auto repair shops! The problem with not traveling is that you don't get a sense of reality. How can you gauge how free you are when you have nothing to compare it against. Other than the fear mongering FOX NEWS or CNN. Keep on believing that your FREE while the rest of us jump ship. If everyone did a lil traveling you'd realize how close America has become to all the things we pretend not to be.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bryan

      Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that Vietnam has greater Freedoms of Speech or a better standard of life. What I am saying is that there is a lot of perspective to offer people who get off the beaten path and take a leap. I admire Vietnamese entrepreneurial spirit. It reminds me of what i imagine America was like before Wall Mart and 9.50 and hour for the rest of your life. Time off well you'll have to beg for it. However I'd never would have gained that insight had I never been there.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dave Felt

    An entrepreneur is an economic agent who unites all means of production- land of one, the labour of another and the capital of yet another and thus produces a product. By selling the product in the market he pays rent of land, wages to labour, interest on capital and what remains is his profit. He shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.`*

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    May 4, 2013 at 2:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
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