It is not my intention to stop folks travelling for recreation; rather, I prefer to consider why you feel you must. Are you edified by travel? Have the dozens of churches, museums and war memorials you’ve seen made you a more complete person? Do you have an advantage over those of us who chose not to or cannot travel? Are you more enlightened? Are you better people?
So maybe travellers are escaping Winnipeg weather. Why does the weather affect you so much that you believe you have to escape it? This is your home. It is cold and cool in Manitoba for the majority of the year. If you can’t stand it, wouldn’t it be better to seek a more favourable climate as a permanent solution? There are warmer places in Canada. Think about it.
With few exceptions, listening to those who have returned from their vacation is like listening to someone read their grocery shopping list. This where you went, you saw these things and did these other things. You had a terrific time and, of course, it was a deal (inexpensive). The travellers have consumed the sights, sounds and smells of their chosen destination and their audience (those who did not go) is left with what remains. Consider if there were any benefits to the place you visited aside from the dollars that were expended. Aside from cash, what was the value-add for the local culture?
I understand that there are a variety of motivations for travel. There are those who do so for more noble purposes. Perhaps they have skills and talents they can share with others. Maybe they can assist those in need by doing something constructive. Make a contribution that does not emphasize or re-affirm the disparity that exists between the traveller’s home country and the destination. However, I am uncertain how that could be achieved. Is there subversive travel?
Vice Magazine (Vice.com) has created some travel documentaries that I find compelling. However, they are not immune to criticism or some of the deeper issues of the gaze. These folks (they are usually middle-class and educated) travel to destinations to reveal the bizarre, the fringes, the margins of the cultures visited. Hamilton Morris searches the world in search of mind-altering substances and uses himself as the subject. There have been presentations of psychotropic truffles, hallucinogenic frogs, and various stimulating brews. Vice is not afraid to visit where the bourgeois has rarely gone. Vice sought out some locals in a certain area of Colombia that have sex with donkeys; others have visited Muslim transgendered folks in Indonesia. Another correspondent went to China to visit a village built primarily for dwarves and a paying audience. Thomas Morton went to Peru over a recent Christmas to engage in a fist fight with a stranger as this is a local tradition. Now, these are trips one could remember throughout a lifetime.
It is not my intent to use this forum as an ad for an “underground” eZine but rather to think about a new direction. This kind of travel is more appealing to me. It is much more compelling than 20 minutes of video from a hotel in Jamaica or the Epcot Centre.
Time to book a flight, I think.