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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back From Spain

Our holidays in Spain are over and we are back in Sweden. With my luck I caught a stomach-flu just the day before we left so I am more than happy to be home and in my on bed now, still haven't eaten much more than soup though.

On the subject of travelling, Maggie (blog in Swedish) has written quite a lot about it recently and has made me think more about our consequences of travelling. I have mostly written about the flying emissions when writing about travelling before on this blog but of course there is a lot of other topics related to it as well. She refers for example to this article on how backpackers have cleared the way for mass tourism in remote areas in Asia and how such harmless things as cameras might actually interfere in the local traditions (monks being disturbed by camera-shots while they try to meditate for example). She also linked to Ponks post (in Swedish) about a bad volunteer experience on a orphanage in Guatemala. It seemed like the money sent to help the orphanage stayed in the hands of management which rarely was seen around the orphanage. Additionally, the environment for the kids wasn't all that stable as the volunteers only stayed for about three months which meant their teachers were continuously replaced by tourists that spoke their mother tongue quite bad. In fact there is a word for this sort of mass tourism volunteering; "voluntourism", which might be doing more bad than good, even if the intentions are all good.

On the other hand, I do think some sort of travelling can help to grow as a person, usually people who have travelled a bit and "seen the world" are more open minded and less judgemental towards foreigners and new ideas. However, I don't think mass tourism to resorts with people from your own country would contribute to a more open mind, neither I like the idea of exposure of local cultures and pollution all tourism contribute to. So here is just a few of my thoughts (questions) after reading and thinking about this subject; Is it necessarily to travel to learn about other cultures? Is it necessarily to travel to have great experiences?  Is it necessarily to always have the camera around when travelling? If there is a more sustainable way to travel what way would that be? Is it "enough" to travel short distances? How much tarvelling is really needed for work purposes?

What's your thoughts and reflections on this subject? I am surely not the one to answer these questions, and I don't expect you to, but it's nontheless an interesting subject to discuss. Feel free to post more questions if you like, no need to answer them.

We spent most of this holiday doing non-tourist things spending time with family and friends but there is still a few reflections from the holidays that I'd like to write about, but it will have to be in later posts as for now I'm gonna return to bed and rest.

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