30 January 2009

Saving to Travel

In the last twenty or thirty years or so, many people went on holiday using someone else's money. Like so much else of consumer living, it seemed a great idea at the time to take out a loan and set off to explore the world, but what were the consequences?

For a long time, at least in Western societies, it was easy to buy now and pay later. It seemed to be an especially fruitful way to travel, as long as your currency was worth more than the one at your destination and you had an income source on your return home. 

Saving for anything is not a particularly attractive proposition if your currency keeps losing value and inflation is rampant.  Your poor economy may, though, attract tourists to your country. The cost of living for them in your society is possibly lower than they experienced at home.  And they may prefer your weather.

Travel was a good opportunity, especially in the 1980s, for young people who had the chance to save money with high interest rates but no mortgage.  Those people probably had reasonably good health.  They had a relevant education and work experience of interest to many employers.  They therefore had the world at their feet, even if they considered themselves to be budget travellers.

So, who will the future travellers be? How will they find the money for their travels, and how might they travel in an ecologically and socially friendly way?

28 January 2009

On the Sublime, the Superlative, and the Soggy

Travel is one of the biggest investments in life, whether it is for a holiday, business or migration. Some people travel to wage war. Some people travel to escape war. Many people travel each day just to reach their place of employment and earn a wage.

Do you travel further afield because you desire adventure or just a change in the weather?

Do you wonder why travel is often a challenge, even when all you may want to do is take it easy?

Have you met people who travel mainly in an attempt to impress those they regard as friends and/or competitors?

Do you travel to seek a better understanding of the world, beyond the media's distorting prism?

Do you travel to have a better understanding of humanity, or just to see interesting scenery?

Why travel?

Is it because travel puts the routines of life into a broader context?

Is it because it gives new perspectives on our own sense of identity?

Is it because the familiar is best appreciated when it has been absent for a while?

I travel mainly because life is far too short to allow it ever to become boring. Travelling is far more interesting and satisfying than being in a classroom, an office or slouched in front of a television.  I also like to escape unpleasant weather, but that is another story.

17 January 2009

Past, Present, Future

This blog is about all sorts of journeys, including journeys of self understanding. 

Where have you been?

You may have been to the sacred mountain near Viggiano or seen the sunset at Uluru.

You may know the migration stories of your ancestors and have retraced their steps.

You may have seen the view from the top of the Montello in the Veneto.

You may have seen the sunrise at the Taj Mahal. 

You may have bought a Baluchi (or Balochi) hat in Quetta.  

You may have eaten a falafal in Jerusalem. 

You may have tried to play panpipes in Cusco.

You may have found that the world seems different on your travels than it appears through a television screen. 

You may have been around the Wrekin, if you know where the Wrekin can be found, and what it means to go around it, literally or figuratively, or both.