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


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?