Saturday, February 08, 2003

Week 2 has just about finished. Only a month to go (I can't believe I said that).

This Small World thing is a bit strange. When I was a kid, adults who had travelled had mostly done it as part of serving during the war (France, Italy, North Africa, Malaya, etc). Then, as cheaper flights came in, poorer people started doing Spain, and so on. Later, cheaper flights meant that people started taking exotic holidays further afield. Still, once you get to Australia you are already on the way back. That was as far as you could go. After that, people had to look for more exotic options.

Don't want to be a tourist? Be a 'real traveller' with a backpack and an open-ended agenda.

Too many places on the Lonely Planet are now catering for people who don't 'think they are tourists'? Go off and live with the natives.

Of course, there are always paradoxes in these things. Tourists do bring in money that poorer countries need. The people going native, however, (like the first missionary or anthropologist) MAY be doing more harm in corrupting the innocent paradise they came to find. There are no easy answers to these things. I originally saw planes as likely to open up the planet to us all, but then I was a poor hippie, so the option didn't kick in. People with steady jobs (paradox) travelled more often, and further, than I did. What I had lots of was time (not money). I don't regret it. It's as pointless as envying Mick Jagger and the Jetsetters. Do You Sincerely Want to Be Rich?

My pet peeve with the way things went was that, just as I started realising how extravagant (in fuel) planes were (cars are bad enough), everybody decided to mimic the rich. Compared to any of our ancestors, and most of the current population of the planet, we are all incredibly rich. Henry the Eighth would be envious of our palaces and communications and materials. And yet, we are still dissatisfied and restless. I guess that's why peace of mind seemed like the better goal. If you are happy inside, it doesn't really matter where you are. Everywhere is exotic to someone somewhere else, and everywhere is home.


So I sit here, as ever, working on my self - and trying to accept my lot, and be satisfied with what I have, and ignore all the attempts of people on the television to make me envious or greedy. They are giving out mixed signals at the moment. Lowering Interest Rates to further stimulate consuming rather than saving (a slightly desperate ploy) - throwing a war (always creates a few jobs) - and I am finding it difficult to even write this stuff because of my lack of neutrality. Since getting a steady job I see these things a bit differently. Let's face it, I even have a (small) credit line now - and potentially I could borrow all of next year's wages. Quite what I would live on next year, though, I am not sure... (the year after's?)

Sorry about the rant. Living alone does make me return to my obsessions, and being a dog I worry at these things... (I remember giving my dog a big bone once, when he had been living on dog food, and he gnawed and worried away at that bone continuously for over 24 hours (with little sleep) until he cracked it, and got to the marrow. That's what I mean by worrying - not that helpless neurotic fretting about stuff you can't change. It's like the fun I had when I was young, disentangling balls of string (the Rubik's Cube of the impoverished Fifties?) provided by my mum (you never threw anything away when living with scarcity).

We were so poor, that untangling string was fun.....

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails