World Tourism Day

Its World Tourism Day today.

We’ve been on a very interesting journey so far – and are ourselves more like travellers than someone helping folks take breaks.  We’ve evolved – and sometimes consciously and sometimes inadvertently – developed a set of values that guide us now.

Eco-travel is an oxymoron. Sustainability is what we can strive for.

Once you take a car out and drive a few hundred or thousand kilometers, or take a flight across continents, or ask for backup power, hot water, and other such usual conveniences in a place where they are anything but ‘usual’ – this tag is not something one could realistically associate with the trip.

On the other hand, the carrying capacity of the land, the local architecture, food, materials, the sense of pride folks have in who they are, what they do and their heritage – these are not only worth sustaining but critical components of why the charming places we go to started out being charming in the first place. Sustainability will come from learning from them (vs. turning up and telling folks whats best) and accepting, acknowledging and appreciating whats on offer.

Traveller, not Tourist

It takes a traveller to do this. We’re all very used to deriding the busload of tourists and their clicked-at-a-monument evidence of a trip – yet end up doing exactly the same in possibly a more evolved way – we look for, and find the exotic, the “unexplored” and never-before. Our monument-shots are those we construct around our traveller egos. Just like the tourists, we go to see what we start out looking for. Tigers to be spotted in the wild for some, “genuine tribal experiences” for  others.

Whatever happened to the  unexpected? Doesn’t have to be common, or never-seen-before. It could be a taste of something you never imagined you’d like, or a cloud formation you wouldn’t notice in traffic, or shades of green that aren’t visible in landscaped gardens. It could be a book which seems funnier when read in a timeless place. Or a walk that – for once – is not slave to a watch.

Possibility. Not exclusivity, or the exotic, or breathtaking

You could be at the same place and have a completely different vacation. The same place can transform around you. In different moods and seasons, once for its food, yet again for its outdoors, and perhaps for its history or its festivals.

Cause travel is often a lot in your head. And pre-filling it with expectations of this and that, and the bargain-hunting and comparisons we’ve been getting used to courtesy too much information – it just kills possibility.

Travel is about possibility. On this World Tourism Day, to help sustainable travel both for the places you go to – and the mind that visits these –  keep possibility alive.