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.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/crowds-tourists-are-ruining-popular-destinations/590767/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

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Into the White

We have been watching winter movies playing in remote places lately. Yesterday it was “Into the White”, a Norwegian movie by director Petter Næss.

A group of British and German soldiers find themselves stranded in a remote shelter in the midst of winter during WW II after crashing their planes in the Norwegian wilderness. Not a war movie, but a great portrait of humanity based on true events.


Some critics said the movie has soul, I concur.
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Mixed bag

Shutdown

The night the lights went out, almost.

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Thousands of miles away the suits are having last minute discussions on whether to shutdown the government or not. I am celebrating a foot of fresh snow.

The lights stayed on. The park will remain open, for now. Xanterra will foot the bill to have the road plowed. Government buildings will remain closed. This could be a great weekend in the park. Just the locals (bison, elk, moose, foxes, coyotes and us) and fresh powder covering up the landscape. Let’s see what the morning has in store…


“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Thomas Jefferson

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A Prime Day

The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

Elise Boulding


Amazon apparently had more than a billion dollar in sales on Prime Day, which lasted 30 hours. Really?

The most popular items sold were smart speakers, tablets, 4K TV screens, programmable pressure cookers, DNA ancestry tests, Whey protein powder and “Game of Thrones” on Blu-Ray. Exactly what I needed, not.

When do we realize that this mad consumption does not make us one iota more happy, free or healthy? To the contrary.

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Twilight on the Chilkat River

I am happy to report that I have spent zero dollars and more importantly zero seconds on trying to buy anything on Prime Day.

Have a grand day out.

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Smithsonian Photo Contest

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The Smithsonian Institution has its annual photo contest.

Over 48,000 photos were submitted in the following categories: The Natural World, Travel, Sustainable Travel, People, Mobile, The American Experience, and Altered Images. In each category 10 finalists were selected for you to cast your vote.

Every day until March 28 you can vote for one of your favorite images in the Readers’ Choice award.

Go visit. See beautiful images. Show your appreciation.

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Truth or Consequences

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“A lie can travel half way around the world
while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Mark Twain


The average English speaker has an active vocabulary of around 10,000 to 20,000 words. Maybe 30,000 if you are an eloquent speaker or writer.

I had to add some new words to my vocabulary in the last couple of days: Fake news, post-truth, and alternative facts, which I had dismissed before as unbelievable internet creations. No more. Now our government is engaging in alternative facts?

What happened?

“At one time we had truth and lies. Now we have truth, lies, and statements that may not be true but we consider too benign to call false. Euphemisms abound. We’re “economical with the truth,” we “sweeten it,” or tell “the truth improved.” The term deceive gives way to spin.  At worst we admit to “misspeaking,” or “exercising poor judgment.”  Nor do we want to accuse others of lying.  We say they’re in denial.  A liar is “ethically challenged,” someone for whom “the truth is temporarily unavailable.”

This is post-truth. In the post-truth era, borders blur between truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, fiction and nonfiction.

When enough of us peddle fantasy as fact, society loses its grounding in reality.  Society would crumble altogether if we assumed others were as likely to dissemble as tell the truth. We are perilously close to that point.”

Ralph Keyes wrote that 13 years ago in his book “The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life”.

Doesn’t his statement describe precisely the current state of our society? Aren’t we expecting from our politicians to make false promises, and to read made-up stories in the news. How can we trust anybody anymore?

When it comes to truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, guilt and non-guilt, the world must be binary. There cannot be a blurring of borders.

Let’s go back and call somebody who bends the truth a liar and somebody who sticks to the truth an honest person.

Otherwise we are deteriorating int a society, where we don’t care anymore about the truth. This has happened before with horrendous consequences.

 

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