Going Faster, But Where?

Since the year 2000, The Economist and Shell join forces on an annual basis to create an international writing competition that encourages future thinking. According to its website, to date, about 7,500 people from over 148 countries have taken part in the competitions, with a select few winning prizes worth more than US$ 60,000 each year!

I was going through the work of some of its past winners, when I chanced upon a short but poignant essay on the subject of sustainability of 21st century travel. This brief essay called "A Ramble to Africa" (PDF) seemed to have captured the essence of the subject very well. In a short span of 3 pages, it makes some insightful observations on Travel, and on Life… and is definitely worth a read.

A few excerpts :

…Slow travel…has mainly been about learning again and again and again that most people are poor, a very few people are exceedingly rich and doing nicely, corruption is normal, clean water is precious and good people everywhere are doing what they can.

(Fast Travel)…Instead of bringing people closer and facilitating mutual understanding and awareness of global issues, it is dividing the world more sharply in two, the rich and the poor. Naturally most tourists on their two-week holiday do not want to be confronted by poverty and disease or reminded that the soup they just ordered costs twice the waiter’s daily wage.

For many people cruising has become a permanent lifestyle…Some of us have loosened our grip on the illusion of security and given up homes and jobs to travel the oceans for a while and just see what happens. It is not a way of getting anywhere. It is a way of being wherever you are.

Travelling fast, but where are you going? Travelling slowly, always at home.

As I said before…this one’s definitely worth a read !