The breeze of change is blowing, gently and warmly; while, gladly, we prepare ourselves to embrace each other once again, to communicate smiles with curved lips as well as creased eyes, and to pause each other’s flow with a shoulder touch, or even an arm pull. The return to soul-seeking, change-making travel is coming, as is the return to sun-bathing, night-clubbing and babe-watching travel…
Perhaps it is time for a change...
We have been blessed with pause for thought, and time to reflect on what kind of traveler we want to be and what kind of traveler we want to host, when freedom to roam is restored. Here is some guidance on what it means to be a Principled Traveler as you go back out into the waiting world:
In a world of difference and division, we in the travel movement always hope that as we live amongst others, even if only briefly, we will learn to seek equality with all that share our Earth. There are some holiday destinations that seem to attract visitors who prefer subservience over sincerity, or those infamous ‘water melon smiles’ over mutual respect and dignity. Much of the Caribbean springs to mind, with their jaw dropping ‘plantation recreations’; as do some Asian destinations, where people are financially disadvantaged, and appear vulnerable or desperate. A Principled Traveler will abhor the unequal relationships we see all too often in these countries, and will choose to find ways to collaborate instead of exploit.
It is a privilege to travel. Not everyone can own a passport, afford a visa, and a ticket, hotel and entertainment expenses. The Principled Traveler will be mindful that although they may have the resources to visit another country, they do not have the right to use their resources to degrade the worth of the people they meet on their travels. Naturally, the Principled Traveler would never engage in ‘sex tourism’ or other forms of ignoble exploitation, but would instead enjoy mutually respectful and positive interactions with the people they meet.
As a host of visitors from around the world, we can now identify our ideal guest. The criteria is not based on nationality, gender, profession or language- it is based on how fairly they treat us! We have experienced the ‘swing ball’ of Airbnb and other booking sites, and now prefer to relate to our guests without the filter, despite gaining Superhost status on these sites. The modern era of ‘online reviews’ for everything from colouring books to plumbing services has given many travelers unfair leverage in the relationship between guest and host. It is sadly all to common for guests to use their advantage with devastating results, just because they can. Many blackmail hosts for discounts, extensions, extra unbooked guests and other undeserved perks, under threat of the dreaded ‘Negative Review’. Now, once we identify the Principled Traveler, the chest of ‘Complimentary perks’ is willingly unlocked! We entice our Principled Travelers to extend their stay, or return to us, with free meals, complimentary massages and unique trips; we also sit with them, sharing experiences, listening to music, watching the world unfold in mutual respect and awe.
A principled traveler will be eager to have different experiences, and to be introduced to new food, new ways of greeting, traditional values, and environments. Curious eyes are not judgmental or superior, and have few preconceptions. How do you enjoy the fresh juice in your glass when you leave the remnants of your last drink at the bottom? A simple analogy, true! One that seeks not to criticize but to encourage travelers to go with an open heart, and a clean glass.
It is easy to judge without understanding, and to criticize in ignorance- which is why the Principled Traveler will always see some value in the culture they meet on their travels, instead of focusing on behaviours or practices that are not similar to their own. It is easy to focus on the untarred roads in a country in Africa, and complain about the power cuts or lizards, while conveniently forgetting the sprawling ‘homeless cities’ and the devastatingly high rates of drug abuse in your own developed nations. Nearly all our houses are made of glass so the Principled Traveler is slow to throw stones.
Our time is precious.
We want to spend it with Principled Travelers!
Thank you for reading😊
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