“I have a dream…
…And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last
A Bit about Purposeful Travel
There are those people who believe travel to be a frivolous, unnecessary and expensive way to spend one’s time. Clearly I disagree.
Travel can be many things to different people: inspirational, rewarding, enriching, educational, therapeutic, etc. It can also be purposeful.
“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” ~Samuel Johnson~
In the spirit of MLK’s vision, here are some ways that serve a more meaningful purpose during travel.
- Preserve the environment. Carry a refillable water bottle and water treatment kit with you rather than buying copious amounts of plastic bottles. When it comes to clothing, pack enough so that you can minimize the frequency of cleaning them. When you do have to do laundry, use a biodegradable soap to hand wash your items and let them air dry. Choose travel-friendly fabrics that wash easily and dry quickly thus avoiding the use of machines and large amounts of water for cleaning.
- Respect differences. Learn the language and customs of the country in which you will be traveling. Even just saying hello and thank-you in another language and complying with local customs is a huge show of respect.
- No intruders please. Though the size of personal space and privacy varies from culture to culture one should still get permission from the locals before taking their picture. R-E-S-P-E-C-T…sing it Aretha…
- Support local businesses. Shop with the locals and get your souvenirs and clothing from them. It’s real fair trade in action.
- Avoid corporations. Tempting though it may be for some to seek out familiar comforts on the road (e.g. Starbucks, the Hilton etc.), try to avoid them. Many corporations have a negative impact on local resources. Tourists have access to clean water, food and shelter while the locals do not?! Hmm this seems just plain wrong.
- Join a purposeful tour. There are more and more tour companies with a purposeful bent. Some for a specific reason (e.g. Volunteer projects for animal conservation) while others support charitable organizations (G Adventures founded Planeterra, an organization that supports social and environmental sustainability in popular destinations).
- Share your experiences. When you get home, share what you’ve learned with the people in your life. Nothing is ever exactly as it is portrayed in the media.
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” ~ Aldous Huxley~
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