darwin: (Intentionality.)
[personal profile] darwin
Kerry and I were reading the Yacht Mollymawk website, which we found by chance while poking about on a thread on Wordpress localisation. It's a travelogue written by an English family who travel round the world in an old yacht as their permanent home - well, I think most of their travel has been in Southern Europe and the Caribbean - places like Spain, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. Much of the writing there is beautiful and the photography is too! (I have to say that the website is very well designed as well; the son, Caesar, is a web designer who learnt his skills while travelling.)

Jill, the mother, is the most common writer on the blog and I like many of her observations about education and travelling, but I have a hard time getting my head round some of the characterisations she makes about the people living in the countries she and her family visit. Things about how you can ~learn~ from people in third-world countries, that sort of thing. Or equating voluntary minimalism that those of us in western countries can do with the enforced minimalism that people in poor countries have to do. It's not quite on the level of...the stereotypical Victorian English explorer banging on about noble savages, but it is a bit annoying to see that. I think you can get cultural impressions from people but I don't know how I feel about generalisations like 'People in country X are nice' or 'People in country Y are all nasty'. People are...people wherever they are and they can vary!

Yes, there are things you can learn from people...but you can learn things from people anywhere, whether they're in England or Eritrea or Egypt or Estonia. Travelling round the world is a wonderful experience, but there are ways to gain perspective even within a 'first world' country like the UK (...like the increasing need for food banks over there?) or the US (there is more income inequality in the USA than any other industrialised western democracy).

I like the emphasis on conservation and not buying useless things that you're really not going to use, and questioning consumer culture is important but I don't think it's necessary to romanticise other groups while doing it.

...now I feel like a SJW. *sighs*
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Darwin

April 2014

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