24 November 2011

A Better Way of Life

What does it mean to have a better way of life?

Does it mean solving little problems one step at a time?

Does it mean taking a giant leap into the unknown, regardless of the consequences?

Does it mean following a dream, even without a thoroughly worked out plan?

Does it mean using our minds better, solving mysteries, developing our curiosity and having a deeper appreciation of whatever is pleasant?

21 October 2011

The Beauty of Nature

Beauty frequently attracts attention, whether in the natural world or in a social or cultural context.

Are you ever inspired to travel in search of beauty?

We frequently view beauty as a sign of health, of youth, and of happiness.  I prefer to experience peaceful, beautiful places, rather than owning many beautiful things.  Perhaps you do, too. 

How do you relate to the most beautiful aspects of the natural world?

01 September 2011

A Funny World

Are some of your favourite travel moments also the funniest ones?
Do you like observing different cultures because you find aspects of them to be eccentric or otherwise funnily peculiar?

Do think other people find you funny when you are outside your usual environment?

08 August 2011

Easy Travels

The Australian dollar has recently been very high against the American dollar, the UK pound and the euro.

It has been an opportunity to travel far and wide for Australians who may have had some savings to spare, or a low-interest loan, or even access to suitably extensive credit card accounts.

I am the sort of person who saves up to travel.  It makes it by far the easiest option in the long-term, especially when the memories of a great journey can be experienced without any worries about post-holiday debts.  And it is a true experience of freedom.

My most recent overseas travels were the first I completely arranged myself, without any sort of assistance from a travel agent.  They were also the most enjoyable and smooth-running experiences I have ever had when away from home, even though I was quite anxious beforehand about using the Internet and faxes for all the bookings.

Payments were simple, too, with the assistance of the security measures put in place with the help of my local bank staff.  I never needed to use an ATM anywhere, as those machines are always a risk given the prevalence of skimming.

It was also very nice to come back and find the house just as I left it.  That was, by far, the most wonderful experience in the world.

19 April 2011

The Journey to Inner Peace

Being curious, having questions and encountering other ways of life can also leave the mind in a state of bewilderment.

How do you find inner peace?  Do you travel to where you think it might be?

25 March 2011

Benevolent Businesses

Although my dream is for every business in the world to be benevolent, the first step in this process is for each of us to know something about benevolence, and to put it into effect in our own lives.

Benevolence is associated with the concept of trust, a topic I mentioned earlier today on my By Any Other Name blog.

In business, as in politics, trust is a very important aspect of long-term success. In an ideal world, perhaps politics would also be a purely altruistic pursuit.  But a business can never be that way.  It is about mutual benefit, not just between a business owner and a customer.  Benevolence needs to exist between everyone involved in the many social, economic, ethical and cultural aspects of every business transaction we experience each day.


Do you know of a business 
exemplifying what I have in mind?

Do you run such a business yourself?


How does that business, wherever it may be in the world, relate to its place in history, and to its future benevolent purpose?  What are the principles it puts into action?  What are the standards it maintains?

11 March 2011

Privacy and Travel

Keeping some things about ourselves private is a good idea, and it is a theme I often mention when writing my four blogs.

Can anyone in the world easily find your real name and home address?

Can anyone in the world find your telephone number or your date of birth?

Do you reveal your whereabouts to anyone who might be interested in relieving you of your three-dimensional goods and financial assets?

How secure is your identity?



Who knows when and where you 
will be going on your next travels?



One of the problems with travel is that we give quite a large amount of information about ourselves to quite a lot of people, most of whom are strangers.  Information about us is put on government databases when we enter and exit a country.  Personal details about us are likely to be on the databases of airline, hotel, car hire, bus, boat and tour companies.







Your travel bookings may have necessitated the use of credit cards, debit cards, international money transfers, and cheques, all provided to you through financial institutions - with your personal details in their databases.

If you own some accommodation, or at least have a mortgage that you are somehow managing to pay, or even if you have been able to rent somewhere for a reasonable price on fairly a permanent basis, then it might be a place you call "home".  How secure is that home when you are not there?  Do you hide personal documents and precious items before you go away?

If you have somewhere safe to keep most of your three-dimensional belongings when you travel, so that you do not have to carry everything with you, then you are probably a lucky person.  If you have never had many three-dimensional belongings in the first place, or some or all of them have been stolen or destroyed, then you are probably quite unlucky.


How to really "get away from it all" 


Luck may have something to do with where we are in the world at a particular moment, as can our feeling of being unlucky.  But how can we avoid misfortune and become more fortunate?  We can begin, of course, by being careful.  Who knows where you usually live, and when you may or may not be there?

The best way to "get away from it all" is to quietly decrease the aspects of life that you want to escape from in the first place.  Avoiding problems  might include mentioning your concerns about privacy to others, especially an indiscreet neighbour, colleague, friend or relative (who may even have mentioned your activities in their blog or online social network).  You may even wish to show them this blog post.

Why is travel an important part of your identity?  And how do you protect your identity?

09 March 2011

Secure Accommodation Payments

One of the biggest uncertainties with any sort of travel is if the booked accommodation will be available on arrival.  Another uncertainty is whether the condition of the premises, and the location, will be as expected, and possibly even a very pleasant surprise.

My own way of judging a hotel, or any other place to sleep, may be quite different from the way you may judge a place to stay.   Cleanliness, quietness, safety, trustworthiness, convenience, helpfulness, responsiveness, value for money, a very comfortable bed, calmness and freshness are important, of course.  They are the absolute minimum.


Too many choices?

Having travelled extensively myself, all over the world, to many sorts of locations, there have been a few minor inconveniences from time to time, some of which seemed quite major problems during them.  But, fortunately, I am yet to experience an unavailable room or a payment gone astray.  Perhaps it is because I usually confirm a booking by fax and then request confirmation of its arrival by email.  It was rather more difficult to do those sorts of things only a few years ago, or even impossible.

A secure way to make a payment, or even just a safe way to send credit card details, is the most essential factor of any trip.  I would never book any accommodation where the owner, or a booking agency, suggests sending my credit card details by email.  It shows a lack of professionalism on their part, and especially a lack of awareness of Internet security.


Who do you trust?

I think it is a good idea is to double check straight away that the payment or information has been received and the booking reconfirmed.   Even then, it may be best to telephone a day or two before arriving, or even a week or two beforehand if you have booked months in advance, just to make sure you are expected.

How do you choose where to stay?  Have you ever tried the tripadvisor website?  How do you know whether the opinions of other people will match your own expectations and options?  And how do you keep your travel arrangements, payments and financial details private, safe and secure?

08 March 2011

Inheritance

Some of the most unpleasant disputes in the world are those relating to ideas about inheritance.  Many of those disputes are over claims to property.

We have inherited life itself from our ancestors, regardless of the motives that brought us into existence.  What else do we owe to our ancestors?  What are we owed by earlier generations?  And what do we owe to future generations?

Have any of your travels been possible only because of a financial contribution made by a living or deceased family member?

27 February 2011

Language Expeditions

On my travels, most of the trouble I have encountered has been due to confusions over language.  The same applies when I am at home, even though I live mainly amongst English speakers.  Do I make myself understood here at Continual Journeys?

I recently wrote, in this blog, on the topic of conversing.  In another of my blogs, called By Any Other Name, I have investigated ideas about language more deeply.  Here are some links there:









I have a habit of confusing words.  This includes mixing up exhibition and expedition from time to time.  I have visited a large number of exhibitions over the years, in many different places.  You may think of my blogs as being exhibitions of one sort or another.  You may even think that I am making an exhibition of myself in my attempts to write reasonably well here.

In my travels, I have been part of several expeditions.  Your explorations here may also be like experiencing an expedition, especially in the parts you find most difficult to comprehend.  The expeditions I have experienced have been of the cultural, inquisitive and exploratory kind, rather than the military, though I have explored military history from the safety and comfort of my living room.

Sometimes, expeditions are the source of future exhibitions, especially of some important objects of times past.

The primary purpose of my involvement in expeditions has been to gain an understanding of something I value, namely the sharing of discoveries that other people may subsequently find useful and interesting.  My continual journey into the art of expression and reflection through language may help me to share some of those discoveries with you.

21 February 2011

The Adventure of Self Control

Do you travel mainly to seek excitement or mainly to seek peace? Do you seek instant gratification by escaping now and paying later?

Do you travel to gain a better understanding of the world, or of yourself, or of the world as you believe other people experience it?

Do you save up for months or even years so that you can afford to travel without debts?  Do you prefer to take out a loan and then pay it off after your adventures are over?  Do your journeys, and your life, have anything to do with self control?


Wikipedia article about self control

Wikipedia article about deferred gratification


Social life is usually more peaceful when people have self control.  Our travels, and our relationships, can be easier if we are able to control our reactions to difficult situations so that we can respond in the most suitable way.

I have noticed that the people I prefer to be around, and to work with, usually have better levels of self control than I do, especially when faced with obstacles or unpleasantness.  I like to be around people who help me to think better, which usually means that they are also cheerful, helpful and willing to tolerate my impatience!

17 February 2011

Conversing

When you travel, do you talk about different things with the people around you than you do when you are closer to home? What are your usual topics of conversation?  What are the cultural and conversational confusions you have experienced?

30 January 2011

Reflecting on Your Journeys

How do you go about reflecting on the journeys you have already taken, and those you hope to take in the future?  What is the purpose of your reflections?

Past, present, future

On the sublime, the superlative and the soggy

Many like to travel

Adventures in the land of Blog


How do your own experiences of travel compare with my own?  Have you mainly travelled as an independent person, or as a part of a tour group, or as someone with responsibility for dependents?What is your idea of a perfect holiday?  What is your idea of a perfect occasion?

The perfect afternoon tea

Understanding the world

Via the visitor


Do you usually find that travelling enriches your life in some way?  What is the main difference between your routine travels and your other journeys?

Life, work and travel

The journey through life

Telescopes, microscopes and public buses

Motivation


Researching a future journey, especially a possibly different direction in life, has become so much easier with so much online information available to explore.  There are so many options!

Journeys through time

Educational journeys

More musical adventures


How do you enhance your cultural wealth, your cultural experiences, and your cultural awareness while exploring online?

Via's quest

The adventure of awareness

Objects of times past

Somewhere to sleep

Images of beauty


How do you enhance your social wealth?  In what ways are people important in your life?  Can you define the importance you have in the lives of other people?

Via's magic carpet

Successful journeys

Welcome aboard the fair ship Social Enterprise

On the go


What are the most important things you have learned on your journey through life?

Sacred mountains

Philanthro possibilities

Reflecting on the past

The search for meaning

Singing, dancing and travelling

The inner world

Remembering Icarus


You will probably have noticed that this blog post encourages your reflections about the idea of travelling. Have you met people who reflect on their travels in the same way as you do, or in the same way as I do?  How do your reflections differ from my own?

Moving onwards

The road to recovery

The journey to work


Well, I hope that these few reflections on my own experiences will assist you as you reflect on your own continual journeys.

18 January 2011

Packing Just a Few Articles

When you travel, are you the sort of person who wants to take everything with you, or can you manage with just a few items?

How much of what you take with you, regardless of the amount, ends up not being used during the time away?

What to pack is often a challenge.  What do we really need?  Will we leave enough room for the souvenirs we will probably accumulate?  What can be thrown away or given away as the journey progresses?  What do we want to keep as a reminder of our experiences?

My own packing style depends on the type of trip I am taking.  The questions I ask myself include:  What can easily and cheaply be bought when I arrive at my destination?  What should I take with me to make my time away more comfortable?  What am I unlikely to find easily there but will absolutely need to have with me?

Travelling light is an art, and one that can be learned through experience, especially after carrying heavy luggage at inconvenient moments.  But it is also necessary to think about other types of articles in our daily experience, especially things that have been written that may help us to reflect upon our journey through life.


Here are some examples of articles I think are suitable for the purposes of reflection:


1. From Wikipedia
About recreation

2. From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
About treating trauma - the risks of debriefing after disaster

3. From USA Today
About the role genetics plays in who we choose as friends

4. From The Telegraph, UK
About the pitfalls of social media


You will see that these are four very different articles.  You may like to look for something they have in common.  They all relate to aspects of our enjoyment of life.  Too much luggage can spoil our enjoyment of a journey, and so does not enough.  It is the same with information.  Too much becomes heavy clutter.  Not enough makes us feel needy.

15 January 2011

Going Home

The idea of "home" is often linked to ideas about personal identity and self-image.  A knowledge of history can teach us many things about our identities, both in an individual sense and as part of a community.

If home is a place of cultural familiarity, what happens to the meaning of "going home" when that familiarity is lost?  My cultural background may be regarded as British, but what does British mean, especially for someone who has spent most of the second half of their life in Australia?  Is Britain or Australia my home?

What does the idea of "home" mean to you?

Have you ever been homeless or homesick?

Whenever I am in a crisis situation, which fortunately has been quite rare so far, I tend to have a "stiff upper lip" attitude. I do not like too much fuss, or too much attention.  I do not like being overly praised or to receive a gushing, exuberant welcome.  Nor would I want to be hugged or kissed by a stranger, or even asked an intrusive question by one.  This applies at both the best and worst of times.

Have I really been "British" at all?  Are my behaviour traits a sign of emotional reserve or even coldness, or are they a sign of maturity, of being educated, of being independent, of being mentally well balanced, of being cultured, of being middle class, of being Australian, of being British, or of being English?  How do you label yourself in relation to your idea of home?


Here are some Wikipedia links you may like to explore (even though a few of them have been linked from my blogs before):


British people

Britishness

Stiff upper lip

Culture of the United Kingdom

English language

History of the English language

British humour


People perceive each other in many different ways.  If I made a complaint about poor service or shoddy goods, would some of the less informed Australians around me just consider me to be "yet another whinging pom"?   If you read my four blogs, you will see that I rarely complain about anything, except injustice (especially injustice towards others).

Some of the best trained people to deal with difficult situations, especially difficult people, I have found to be the cabin crews of full-service airlines (but not necessarily on the low-fare airlines).  They are far better than I am in dealing with conflict and rudeness, and at diffusing difficult situations while remaining elegant and charming.  Perhaps politicians, police officers, military people, customs officers and security staff could learn from them.


Here are some more links to think about:


BBC News - Why is service still so bad in the UK?

Wikipedia - Flight attendant


I am still not sure where my home is meant to be.  It is not so much about a place as about people.  It is about community, of a sense of belonging, of feeling comfortable around other people, and of feeling secure in their presence.  Do you sometimes feel more at home when on holiday than when you are at "home"?

08 January 2011

The Journey to Work

Have you ever thought about your long-term journey to work?  If you have to travel a long distance to and from a job each day, have you also had a long way to go in life to achieve what you have so far accomplished?


Knowledge

I worked hard at school in Britain in the late 1970s.  I tried to make the best of my studies, even though I found many of the subjects boring, either in the way they were taught, or because many of my classmates found the subjects boring and I wanted to "fit in".


Skills

I went to college after I left school so that I could learn some useful "job skills", such as a faster typewriting speed, Pitman's shorthand, office administration and management theory.  I had no idea what I wanted for or from a "career" and there seemed to be no point in planning for one when jobs were very scarce anyway.


Future

When we are young, our future is something we may look towards with a feeling of uncertainty.  I know I certainly felt uncertain about what life may have had in store for me.

Take a look at this link from the BBC of unemployment in Britain from 1981 to today.

I was learning shorthand at college in 1981 - and I hated it!  At school, at least in my mid teens, I had reasonably neat handwriting.  After learning shorthand, I could neither read my own longhand handwriting nor read my shorthand very well.  Secretarial work was not what I really wanted to do but it was the best I could expect, and at least I gained employment with my skills as soon as I applied for work.


Career

Without a career plan, I chose to travel whenever I could save up enough money to do so - though always on a very tight budget.  Perhaps that is why I can still live well on a small amount of money today, and can spend the time working on developing my "real" career - as a writer.  

So, all those noisy and boring typing lessons - on manual typewriters - came in useful in the long term.  I can easily write a blog post today in less than five minutes.

05 January 2011

1931 and 1938

Although I was born a long time after the 1930s, the years 1931 and 1938 are very important in my life.

In 1931, my maternal grandparents were married.  Here is a Wikipedia article about that year.

In 1938, my paternal grandparents were married.  Here is a Wikipedia article about that year.

My grandparents were all in their twenties when they married.  The 1930s were the years of their young adulthood, just as the 1980s were for me, fifty years later.

Have you compared the years of your youth with those of your grandparents, and the influence of those much earlier times on your life today?

02 January 2011

Australian Drought, Bushfire, Flood and Travel Plans

While conditions in Europe have been very cold in recent weeks, Australia, with its global reputation for sunshine at the seaside, has been experiencing its regular rural reality of natural disaster.

Avoiding natural disasters is a wise move in many circumstances, not just in the hope of avoiding human tragedies, but also because it is necessary to think about where our food usually grows, and how it reaches us.


Here are some Wikipedia articles with historical overviews of a few of Australia's natural disasters:





I am writing this at home on a pleasantly warm and sunny day.  It is unlikely that I will be directly affected by drought, bushfire or flood any time soon, but I have made plans just in case one of those events does happen.  What are your plans to avoid catastrophes in the months and years ahead?


Past disasters can teach us many lessons about ways to cope with future difficulties.  Here are some more Wikipedia links to think about if you are currently in Australia or plan to be here soon:











It is reasonable to want to live (or just travel on holiday to) somewhere safe, pleasant and reasonably predictable.  Many areas of Australia cannot be relied upon to provide that, in either a natural or social way.  This is especially the case if travelling around the country by road, including within large cities, even though Australia has one of the best road safety records in the world.




If you are not familiar with Australian road conditions and climatic conditions, do you have the information and other resources to plan for a good journey?