Mixed bag

To travel…

Today I’ll ponder about the state of traveling. Reading the news I came across articles that made me think. First, there is a 21 year old woman from Nevada, who visited all 192 sovereign countries of the world in her young life. She set a Guinness world record as the youngest person to accomplish this (what shall I call it?).

I am wondering, what do you do after this? And what did she take away from it? Just wondering.

She liked Northern Pakistan the most because of the unexpected kindness of people (and the absence of other tourists). Her travels have attracted 50,000 followers… A book is next… Still…

“The traveler sees what he sees.

The tourist sees what he has come to see.”

G.K. Chesterton

Then this is for all cruise ship passengers to think about. Princess Cruise Lines and its parent company Carnival Corporation have been fined another 20 milion US$ for dumping plastic waste into the ocean. Not the first time they were fined for environmental crimes.

Not sure what the attitude is here, soiling your own playground?

And finally, considering climbing Mt. Blanc in France? Better make reservations. No ticket, no mountain for you. 25,000 climbers have overwhelmed the hut system and the environment, so local authorities are limiting access to the mountain.

I think there is a common theme here. Too many people in one place, locals or visitors, are not good for the environment. Wild and quiet places turn into tourist attractions. What’s left? Now even rugged mountains are being overrun?

Begs the question, why some of us are seeking solitude and wilderness.

Our modern ways of living and traveling allow us to see the world, but do they let us experience nature?

Well, that’s it for today. Another day of business as usual.

PS: A day after I wrote this I found an article on The Atlantic. There is a word for this phenomenon: overtourism.



11 thoughts on “To travel…

  1. Chesterton’s quote says it all I think.

    I’ve probably always been a tourist in my twenties when I did a lot of travelling in the U.K. and Europe (with a few visits to South-East Asian cities thrown in ), especially in the 1970s, and it’s not until I had to quit full-time work in 2010 due to chronic ill health that I became more of a ‘traveller’.

    I didn’t go far from home, only locations available via public transport (because of those health issues), but I went because I wanted to get outdoors in the ‘fresh’ air – smell and see the natural world of my childhood (up to the age of 11 when our family moved house), truly see nature that was right on my ‘doorstep’.

    Travel – to other countries and seeing other cultures – enriches the soul and takes us back to something of our true nature. Our true nature is not filled with modern technology and material possessions. Our true nature is living in harmony with the natural world and people of different race, language and religious conviction.

    But our true nature is also about living with/in the natural world and accepting all living creatures as equals and all the landscape as something we hold in trust for future generations to know and appreciate, not about raping the landscape of all it’s natural resources (I feel a bit of a Baden-Powell quote somewhere in there).

    I don’t have the finances or health to travel interstate or overseas now, but in some ways I have a better appreciation of nature.

    • Thanks Vicky for your insight. It seems to me we are getting deeper and deeper into this technology and possessions morass.
      The simple life is possible, but not attractive to the majority.

      • I wonder how much of the ‘majority’, especially young folk, are falling prey to peer pressure when it comes to modern technology. Then of course, nearly every school child in western countries has to have a computer (or at least access to a computer).
        I would like to see (our) Government put more funds into Trades (such as manual construction trades – plumbing, carpentry, electrical) as well as working on the land or
        we’ll end up with too many highly qualified modern technology skills and not enough manual skills.
        We’re quite lucky in Australia in that most schools also have student gardens/veggie plots and camps/sporting programs to balance the technology/sciences.

  2. PS I just looked up the 21 year old who has visited 192 countries and she has the same surname as me – quite a co-incidence 😀

  3. I think traveling gives a good sense of interacting with nature too, especially in some countries. In others, it is more interaction with people. Both are valuable equally.

  4. lolkin says:

    This post is spot on and reminded me of recent news coverage on Everest. I’ve discovered recently that one can explore not going anywhere or not going far because wherever you go, there you are. Wasn’t there a famous writer who was too poor to travel so he explored his living room as if it was a travel destination? 🙂 the sofa in particular blew his mind :)) we need to slow down and look inward. Travel isn’t a score based system, it’s not about quantity…

    • Well said.
      Karl May was a German writer, who wrote more than 100 volumes of adventure books playing all over the world from the comfort of his home.

  5. Fascinating — lately all I want to do is inhabit my wonderful life, right here at home. I’ve gotten in all my travels over the past many years. Now, I enjoy the hard-earned fruits of my labors. Lovely home. Great spouse. Perfect horses. Local forest with beautiful trails. It rocks. Thanks to your insights, I have a greater perspective on how “green” (and cool!) my close-to-home life truly is :)) Dawn



  6. Spot on!! I’ve been thinking about similar things lately as I travelled through northern CA. In the midst of this beautiful huge forest guess what was everywhere? Trash and people using it as a bathroom .., everywhere. No respect for anything. Except, perhaps, getting that perfect shot for social media. Really saddened me.

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