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Is travelling selfish?

Travel Forums General Talk Is travelling selfish?

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91. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

Quoting snatterand

I think the traveller should be aware of the environment and the societies he/she is visiting, and be aware of the effects his/her travels have. Especially people that travel extensively!!! ... because, tway, I do think the perception of travelling matters!!!

I understand your point - but I must disrespectfully disagree! Perception, intention, awareness - they are nothing if not coupled with action. Two travellers can be shopping side by side, one thinking "I'm going to buy this to add to my collection and impress the neighbours" and the other thinking "I'm going to buy this and contribute to the welfare of the people and teach others about their culture." In the end, the action is the same, and the intention doesn't matter a bit.

I do better understand what you were trying to get at, though. Thanks for explaining!

92. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 10y

I'm with Tway on that one. Although perhaps not completely. Intention doesn't really play a role in being "selfish". People don't start their day off and think "hmm, I think I'll be selfish today". Either you are or you are not, based on the actions you make (or don't make).

I can't really see how showing your knowledge of culture off to the rest of the world doesn't make a traveller selfish. There are billions of people around the world that do not 'travel', so does that make them inherently selfish? Nope. Does travelling, sharing your knowledge, and experiencing the cultures of others make you inherently unselfish? Nope.

(I'm not saying travelling is selfish, I am just disagreeing with this as a justification)

Personally I think our mass-consumption methods of travelling are selfish. Again, that doesn't mean "travelling" is selfish, it is the methods and modes of travel that we choose. I think the problem is we don't think it is travelling unless you leave your own country/region/continent.

One can travel to the other side of town (on foot or on the bus) and learn about local cultures in that area of the city. Get to know immigrant societies and help them to adjust to your way of life... of course you can do the same thing by travelling to Kenya, but wich one will make more of an impact? Good and bad?

93. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

Quoting Brendan

Personally I think our mass-consumption methods of travelling are selfish. Again, that doesn't mean "travelling" is selfish, it is the methods and modes of travel that we choose. I think the problem is we don't think it is travelling unless you leave your own country/region/continent.

One can travel to the other side of town (on foot or on the bus) and learn about local cultures in that area of the city. Get to know immigrant societies and help them to adjust to your way of life... of course you can do the same thing by travelling to Kenya, but wich one will make more of an impact? Good and bad?

Thank you Brendan, this is the best post so far - it's exactly my point too!!!
//Susanna

94. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

Received as a PM; thought I might just as well put it in here:

SAMG
Selfish Travel

Every plus has a minus.

When we travel we see the degradation in places like the Philpines and sth America and we say to ourselves that is why we must 'Do the right thing' and look after our people and environment.

People in those communities never travel and as a result don't realise that the way they live is having the effect it is because they know nothing else.

Travel is a learning experience and must be undertaken by everyone who can experience it so that they gather the knowledge to inform their counterparts.

Imagine if Colombus or Magellan or Dampier had never travelled???

95. Posted by Laura_B (Respected Member 352 posts) 10y

Quoting Peter

I think what is more interesting is what you buy on a daily basis. How much of the stuff you buy has had to be shipped/flown half way across the world? Most people have no idea or even any reasonable way of finding out.

I personally feel that buying local is a more effective/useful cause.

I totally agree with you on this. I would much rather buy local produce then stuff that comes from half way across the world, but it isn't always that easy. Supermarkets where I live are acessible by foot, but don't always sell local produce, we have farm shops or organic shops which sell obviously local and organic products, but they are out of the way in which you would have to drive to get there (again this has an effect on the environment) and they are usually a lot more expensive (although I don't mind paying a bit more). How do we get around this?

96. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 10y

Imagine if Colombus or Magellan or Dampier had never travelled?

Hmmm, I imagine a world not ravaged by colonialism..

Quoting Luara_B

we have farm shops or organic shops which sell obviously local and organic products, but they are out of the way in which you would have to drive to get there (again this has an effect on the environment) and they are usually a lot more expensive (although I don't mind paying a bit more). How do we get around this?

I have much of the same issue where I live, very little selection when it comes to local/organic. There is a farmer's market, but it is only once in awhile. So, when I go for food I try my best not to get anything packaged and get many bulk items in re-usable bags. Also I have some canvas bags so I don't need to use the plastic bags.

So the solution may not be perfect, but there are options - and as more people make these choices I think the selection will grow.

(An option to get those organic shops though could be a bus or taxi.)

97. Posted by Laura_B (Respected Member 352 posts) 10y

Often these farmers shops are way out that public transport will not go there & a taxi would cost probably more then what I would spend buying provisions.

98. Posted by Naffers (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

Quoting bryangrey

I don't know if I made it any clearer, but in the end of the day I think we all mean the same thing. More or less.

Well written snatterand. And well understood.:)

Of corse flying is a selfish act, ecologically speaking that is, as ultimately we are talking about fuel emissions and green house gasses..
Some ways to reduce the fuel emissions of flight.

1. Travel light (obvious realy).

2. Only fly near to the jet streams (the main bulk of the fuel is used climbing up and then along to them, flight there after is practically fuel free).

3. Long distances by plane should only be in a West to East direction following the jet streams.

4. Avoid internal flights whenever possible. Any other means of transport is more fuel efficiant.

The old addage applies... 'It's not what you do but the way that you do it'...

Don't feel too bad about it... Neuclear testing is by far worse (ban the bomb!)

Naffers...

99. Posted by Hookey (Budding Member 22 posts) 10y

Quoting Brendan

Imagine if Colombus or Magellan or Dampier had never travelled?

Hmmm, I imagine a world not ravaged by colonialism..

Rather ironic given where you're posting from...

Back on topic. Yes, travel is selfish, and air travel is bad for the environment (ignoring emissions relative to other vehicles, its where planes pollute, rather than how much, that causes the damage). However, it doesn't mean I'm likely to stop flying anytime soon; the last thirty years have been the first time in history an average person could expect to see every continent and experience cultures from everywhere; its a priviledge that may be denied to our descendents. So, while I know its unfair, I'm going to take the opportunity while its there.

100. Posted by amanecer (Respected Member 203 posts) 10y

the pollution made by tourists (travelling by plane) is the last danger if compared with the pollution made by industries, traffic and daily bad behaviour.
I mean, the one who use the car everyday, waste water everyday, buy foods coming from abroad and so on, and maybe select a trekking vacation, in my opinion, is worst than the one who cares the environment all around the year and flights for its vacations (and once arrived respect the local habits, contributes to the local economical growth and so on).
respecting the local habits and travelling to enrich our knowledges it would be the point, and the meaning of travelling.
Selfish are instead governments policies about environment, weak almost everywhere.
the one who has visited the polluted cairo maybe will come back home more conscious about the consequences of pollution. I would send all our politics to live in Cairo for 6 months....
I always use public transports to move inside my contry, rather than car, but, f.e., buses pollute, trains use electricity and so on...the only way to avoid completely pollution is walking/biking everywhere, and that's impossible.Besides, in my country many villages or town are no connected at all by public transport (or connected maybe 1/2 times a day). Big cities, f.e. rome, hasn't a developed public transports, and some peripherical areas of the city are very bad connected to the centre. And so on...
So that sometimes, daily "bad " behaviour are forced by circumstances, not by personal choices..
In conclusion, I agree with everyone who tries to sensitize people to environmental problems, and try to care everyday our nature, but saying that travelling is selfish it's - in my personal opinion- pretentious.

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