On this trip to England, I revisited some spots I had last been to in 1995 when I spent all my high school graduation money on a three week trip. Scott and I booked our tickets with an actual travel agent in Greenfield (where I imagine they still have travel agents to this day). We stayed with my cousins John and Mary outside of Bristol for several days. We slept in bunkbeds recently vacated by their four grown children and I studied the girl guide information on their desks and well loved collection of British 20th century children’s literature with reverence. Their home seemed to foster a much more orderly and comforting way to grow up than I had just experienced in the United States.
I’m so glad Nick and I were able to visit with my cousins on this trip. Our nephew is attending Bristol University so we will be able to return soonish I think. Perhaps Christmas next year?
My homeland. I’m reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben and remembering all sorts of hidden trails and treasures. Did you know most wild trees live in families? That they communicate electrically and through taste and smell? Remarkable.
According to this well written study (Becker is a journalist who has written extensively about Vietnam and Cambodia since the seventies)- the tourism industry is much more destructive in every way than I had thought. In my travel musings I had naively focussed on things like the carbon footprint of flying, or cruise ship waste dumped directly into the ocean. Becker’s book goes through a much denser and diverse litany of problems with the industry, starting with the complicity of freelance travel writers and the culture of travel writing in general that thrives on freebies and advertising and almost never publishes a negative review. That’s partly why I’ve never heard of the problems with global tourism in Venice, Dubai, Cambodia and the other regions the author examines for case studies.
It is dispiriting reading for right before a long planned vacation abroad. Becker manages to keep her taste for travel through many years of research, disturbing tourism conferences, a week on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, in badly polluted China. She seems to be arguing not for or against tourism but instead that we must acknowledge that it is one of the huge forces and products of global capitalism. We must get over dated opinions and isolationist approaches (in the USA) to the industry and see what is happening before we can choose intelligently.
I am about to embark on my 9th (!) trip to the UK. My first took place in fabulous 1990, and set the course for the rest. But that’s a blog post for another day. Check out this book and join my sustainability book discussion group, once I get settled on my return.
This year has been especially busy for me with moving and travel that I was eager and happy to do. Relocating to Brooklyn, the Denver adventure, Maine (how did I not take a single photograph in Maine???), my darling sister’s wedding in Oregon, and now we are headed to England in less than two weeks. After that I have one trip in NY State planned and then home for xmas. Could I possibly stay put for the rest of the year other than those trips? What about the family birthdays and the dear Boston ladies who I miss?
We are grounded this weekend, to start, exchanging sitting in traffic to the Catskills or the Berkshires for time in the park with Caper. New York City is pleasantly emptier during these holiday weeks so we can stretch out and slow down.