This post comes from a discussion amongst a lot of the people who write for this blog and our sister blog beingthebestyoucanbeblog.wordpress.com. We were talking about holidays taken, places visited and countries still on our bucket lists and why we would visit them or why we had decided not to. Intentions are important to think about when visiting some countries or choosing types of holidays and we want to cover some here.
Amongst our group we have people who put a lot of thought into their travel plans to make sure they travel ethically and responsibly in a way which adds to rather than takes from the place or country they are in. In future posts, we may go into more detail about these but for now we will give quick reasons for our travel choices and also the aspects we consider when choosing holidays.
Pilgrimage: You will have seen from a previous post “Called to the Camino” that one of our members is starting her pilgrimage on April 2nd and will walk 800km from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago and then another 90km to Finisterre. This has been a decision she has made after years of being called to do it and although not Catholic sees herself a being a seeker in life and travel and is therefore looking forward to seeing what it all brings. The intention for taking a pilgrimage is generally in wanting to spend focussed time reflecting on life and discovery.
Voluntourism: A mix or volunteering and tourism, this is a type of holiday more and more people have been involved in and if you tell people you have done this you will receive a mix of reactions. Some see it as a way of doing good at the same time as travelling whilst others would ask what good is done from 2 weeks or even 2 months of diving into a community, offering your views and then walking away allowing someone else to take over. It does allow volunteers to gain a greater insight into the culture in the country than they would if simply travelling around and they would maybe argue that money goes to the local community where they live and work. This is one which will always divide people and one which we will no doubt discuss further in more detail as it’s certainly not an area where people remain neutral.
Travel to particular countries: This part covers the aspect of travelling to countries where particular aspects make you unsure of whether you should go such as the politics/ human rights policies, an element of danger, poverty, colonialism or oppression. How do you decide if it is right to go on holiday to such places? A couple of our members have been to Tibet at different times, one is a Buddhist and the other person isn’t but did struggle with the Chinese invasion and oppression of Tibet’s people. Some of us have been to dangerous countries knowing that there was a risk but going anyway. How do we deal with the level of poverty which you will invariably see and then walk away. These are difficult decisions to make and those who have made them say for them it came down to their intention in going which was to support those countries and people and to spread awareness of the issues they face. If we stay away, what would happen? If we don’t take money in as tourists are we adding to the problem?
Our travel intentions come into more aspects of travel and we will cover them further in a later post or two we are sure. This is just to get the idea of intentions out there and to discuss other people’s intentions for travel.