philosophy

Travel Can Bring Peace, But Will It?

Travel and tourism sometimes (a lot of times) get a bad rep. Locals rely on tourism dollars, yet gripe when their favorite eateries are too packed to visit or when their favorite boutique blows up and becomes mainstream.

 

Tourism by far gets the worst rep. Typically seen as the higher-income travelers that flood hotels and restaurants but never make it to the real shops and homes of the locals. They fill up beaches and care less about their impact and more about the how far their money will take them on the trip.

 

What if travel was thought of differently? If it was seen as a way to expand not only the traveler’s knowledge but also the knowledge of the locals? I for one can say that even though I live in a very touristy city I rarely encounter the visitors. I may notice them on the street and could pick them out of a line by country of origin, but other than that I say it is very few and far between times that I have had a solid conversation with them.

 

What if we got kids to travel? What if we got kids to meet travelers? What information would be shared and what new connections and innovations could be built?

 

These questions will further the concept of “travel”. Generations after us will be able to develop ideas and answers quicker due to the information being processed and made affordable.

 

If you could ask one question about travel what would it be?


If you could change one thing about travel what would it be?

Is Modern Travel Gentrifying the World?

I have chosen not to speak out on this issue yet because I will be seen as part of the “problem”.

The other week a new business a block from my house was vandalised. Hurricane windows were busted, painted splattered down all the walls. And “obscenities” written on the brick.

“Yuppy = bad”.

“Fuck you Yuppies.”

It’s hard to believe that unschooled children created this destruction due to the correct singular/plural spellings. (Later, surveillance tapes did catch 4–5 people in all ninja-style black clothing doing the crime.)

The problem lies in the millennial population. We are the “hipsters”, “gentrifiers”, and “selfish”. These all may be true, but it does not give credit to the fact that we are the next generation, and the ones after us are moving even faster. The question will be, with propaganda and opinions will we actually leave the world a better place?

“Gentrification” is the new classification of modernity and a progression from something seen as ‘cultured’ and “of value” to something that is passive, bland, and homogenized. The destruction of one thing is the creation of another. True, the money comes and goes into different pockets than it used to, but the life cycle of that particular area/building continues. Not always good, not always bad.

The same can be spoken about travel. What is the correct definition of “ethical” or “responsible” travel? In New Orleans where will you find the real cultural tones that lend their voices to the melody of life here? It was in the exact same place with perversions written in mauve-colored paint. The Nigerian, Creole, pastries, etc. are all created and cooked by New Orleans and from historical places. And since these authentic places are now in a new, money-making environment it must be bad, right? Since the area isn’t still decrepit and filled with loiterers it must be fake, right?

Sure, but Cajun gumbo, Creole red sauce, and seafood are the “staples” of our city, but they can also be seen as the “Gumbo Town” icons that treat the French Quarter as a large marketplace for Chinese-made sundries.

Could it be that in the “gentrified” areas true communities can survive? They can be squashed as well, but in this case (with the vandalized food market) the preservation of the variety of culinary influences and the local teams that they spring from does not support that.

As Westerners start to travel more and impact more what will be their defining legacies?

A borderline of colonialism still exists in the form of fixing other countries’ policies and environments to suit our needs. Every issue in this world is interconnected with others. How can an initiative be sent out to correct the vanishing rainforest while the people working on the ground are only doing so in the interest of making a living? There is no action without reaction and there is no event without another event tied to it.

What needs to be seen is an initiative to turn the local cultures into prosperous future societies, on par with the “modern world”. Instead of ecotourism being the only way of living for a certain region why can they not participate in modern farming (in a sustainable sense) or modern industrialism (again, in a technologically advanced sustainable sense)?

Human rights, culture, history and progress, food, and the environment all combine themselves into ethical time bombs for travelers. Especially with the new “millennial” or “silent” traveler there is a huge void for countries to fill in to offer those who seek to live out the life of a local for the time they are there.

There may be a correlation between those “gentrifying” neighborhoods and those calling for ecotourism in every region but their own. What may look good on one side can be intolerant of another. Looking at the ecosystem of people, the environment, and industries will be the only way towards progress. The world moves in patterns. Where does our modern culture fit in the graph?

A Letter to My Quarter Century

It isn’t much to be 25. some people tell you  that you are young, others look at you as an adult. No one is necessarily looking at you with jealousy. Twenty-five is the same distance from birth as it is to early retirement. Now what?

I am now 26, but looking back at my last quarter century I can tell my next 25 years will be spent more wisely, more healthfully, and without the complete self-criticism. Well, at least I can hope they will be.

Considering my most recent memories are of young adulthood, that may be the best place to start. Anything before are just memories, and anything after is speculation. The past 3 years I have found these connections.

 

  1. My mother was right, don’t believe everything I read on the Internet. Luckily the majority of spam-esque emails have stopped. Unfortunately they have been replaced by real-life trolls, manipulators, and con artists. Catfish. The Internet is the very source that everyone seeks information from, and is also the well that anyone can dump their own filth into. Even this letter. The aggregation of information has quickly led to a filtering process of those who can discern shit from real meaning.

  2. Everything is grey. You will be able to see both sides many issues. However, now you have experienced enough to make informed decisions for the future. People will come to you for help, guidance, and advice. Knowing how to stay out of certain issues, but still be helpful to others is the delicate balance you are beginning to master.

  3. Keep a strict code of ethics and apply to #2. It’s easy to bend rules due to emotions. Stay strong and carry your moral code close to your heart. “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” - Teddy Roosevelt.

  4. Try to do the small things. The short-term gratification will not exist, but the long-term results can change your life. You have acted recklessly and maturely and can clearly see the results of both. Being spontaneous and carefree certainly has its advantages--at times--but staying the course you have set out for yourself will make you happier on a more consistent basis.

  5. Learn the skill, apply it to where you give a s**t.  You can’t say much about the professional world. It means a lot, but at the same time, you feel tethered, not bolstered by much of what you do. You have found a skill that provides benefit to a lot and now need to focus on applying that professional side to companies you care and believe in. Passion is not the correct term for it, but “belief” may be the closest derivative. Believe in what I am, who I am helping, and what it produces.

  6. Listen to you core principles, but adjust for your life. You always knew the type of life you would demand, but what are the costs? Stability versus spontaneity is consistently a  major inner turmoil as I adjust from my younger to later twenties. It’s the internal growing pains that will confuse you the most, but they are not harmful. Keep in mind that with change comes growth.

  7. There will always be someone better off than you, and someone always worse off. You have known this for a long time, but keep remembering it. Remind yourself of this to keep you on solid ground away from the constant emotional peaks and valleys.

  8. Be persistent, but gentle with yourself. Ambition can be a clouded dream. Fight off the definition of yourself to others by setting up a strategy and be as specific as possible. This will occupy your time better than comparisons. Definitely  don’t compare yourself to others and what they have done by the time they were 25. Everyone’s path is different. Keep a steady aim and calm focus on what you want to be. “How we spend our days is how we spend our live.” - Unknown

  9. Make more calculated decisions. Do the math. You + late nights/close quarters/water parks/cruises/sitting for a long time/not exercising/not writing = an unhappy you.

  10. Travel and say yes to almost everything. You have always carried the opinion that you should never say “no” to a new experience. And although your experiences brought wisdom to pick and choose more wisely now, I hope you never lose the lust for new adventures.

  11. No matter where I come from, I am my future. Families are hard, high school was the worst, and nothing ever seems perfect while you are living in the moment. Move on. The only way to get past imperfect decisions, comments, and attitudes is to try and correct them and then do better in the future.

  12. Come to terms with getting older. You are only 26 now. Still a baby in most people’s books. Old to others. To yourself you are in a yearless wasteland. Are you 25, 26 or 27? It doesn’t matter. What matters is the trajectory you are on and knowing that at any time you can change it, but now is the opportune time to set the pace for the rest of your life.

Also published in Thought Catalog.

Search Vs. Seek

Search

To look for the physical.  Tangible evidence that we can procure and either produce ourselves or reproduce under our own name.

Many past companies and people have searched for long times to establish themselves with some physical object. Whether you can touch it or not many productions of yesterday and today are able to be seen, touched, and changed. Software systems can have new code written into a computer and social programs can be written upon. These are the products of people using their minds and time to search for something to create and thrust their name upon.

Seek

To actively search for the non-physical. More of a hope and wish that by looking into the future or in the environment around us we may find who we really are.

Everyone has sought a placating, excitable, or encouraging feeling before. These are the emotions and ideas that keep us chugging along with our dreams. It is a harder concept to grasp as our minds are built to wander and bounce around from scrap of idea to scrap of idea.

The end product can lead to many searches, however. One spark of an initiative or idea can give rise to a multitude of others searching for a way to embrace what has already been defined through seeking.

 

Search and seek are used almost interchangeably today. They may be able to handle both definitions, but I see it as a physical vs. philosophical pursuit.

In your quest to make an impact on the world are you utilizing "search" or "seek"?