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.
The results are in from my time tracking week. And as suggested in this article, I have way more time than I thought. I’m getting plenty of sleep and I have a daily exercise routine and we cook most of our meals at home. Although my commute takes up an annoying tiring and unproductive two hours a day- I knew about that and that’s peanuts to what I spend at work on “email/meetings” (3-5 hours a day!!!) or “recreational TV/Internet” after dinner (another 1-3 hours!)
I have room for improvement at work in shortening meetings and breaking out work blocks from email blocks so I can focus on completing things. I also plan to cut back on some in person meetings and schedule phone calls instead, so I’m not losing time to travel.
At home, I just was in total denial about my screen time. We’ve been watching Bloodline and of course I’m enjoying putting a little time into this blog as part of increasing my writing practice and focus. But the evening hours seem to drift away online. On Sunday I pulled out Twilight Struggle for another attempt at winning the cold war, but we are seriously not smart enough to play that game and after an hour took a nap. It’s still set up on the table because I don’t want to give up and it’s got so many damn pieces.
Friendship is another area for improvement. And communicating with my family. It’s time to schedule regular dates with friends and phone calls home, in addition to regular visits and special occasions. For my personality, a finisher and an obliger, if things are scheduled and shared with others they happen, if not…
I’ve combined my two blogs into one blog so I don’t have to think about where a post belongs. Ideally this could also host anything I want to put on any of the other “online properties” because my main goal of this blog is sharing photos with my dad, Aunt Margery, Jesse Hirsch, Bethany and any other friends out there who still check in here from time to time.
Feels great. Like getting rid of clutter or using up the last of a box of something, online stuff is stuff and needs to be simplified. I’ve watched The Frugalwoods stay relentlessly on message and develop their business plans through their online writing the past two years. But she didn’t have a challenging and meaningful job to satisfy her business dreams. I realized that what I love about my blog is that it is random and messy and follows my interests not my work. It isn’t like a social media profile that others may stumble on or seek out to determine my job prospects or have inflicted upon them in a feed. It is my little corner of things. Next step, remove ads, not that I imagine there are so many popping up but why have them at all?