POLITICS AND TRAVEL – DO THEY GO TOGETHER?
Since the very beginning of this blog, I have covered topics ranging from destination overviews, travel inspiration, political opinions and various amounts of social commentary…
Although, I recently read something from Oneika the Traveller that really made me question whether politics and travel (or any subjective opinions for that matter) should be spoken about on the same platform.
It made me wonder whether speaking about topics that cause a lot of controversy, is something that’s really worth it.
Should I be speaking openly about injustice when I’ve never personally experienced it? Should I be telling my opinion on matters that are continuously causing others to hurt, or is it best to turn a blind eye? Should I be speaking about confronting subjects when people ultimately turn to travel as an escape?
I questioned my intentions at this point; I’m not going to lie. But once I really thought about it and acknowledged my privilege, I realised the sheer importance of simply speaking up.
There are always going to be privileged people that want to avoid politics and global issues to their full extent, and I completely understand — in the end, it may be easier to not worry about the bad in the world in an “ignorance is bliss” kind of way… But that is not helpful.
Whenever I hear of issues on the news, whether they be local or on a global scale, my mind is far from at ease. I think about the situation and every little person, animal or materialistic item involved. I question the entire scenario until I literally have no other option but to distract myself or force myself to otherwise.
And I’ve come to realise, that’s okay!
I have built this platform for that very reason… To speak about issues, to spread awareness, and to encourage others to open their heart.
From this blog, I’ve come to the understanding that politics and travel are two things that will always coincide.
Take the recent “Muslim Ban” for example — if that law was to have gone ahead, travellers wouldn’t have had the authority to enter the US if they had visited a list of Islamic countries within a certain time frame. And as we saw, innocent civilians were banned from their own home, for no other reason than being a part of a religion that others fear.
And this is only one tiny example of how politics affects our ability to travel.
It’s something that ultimately affects the minority throughout their entire lives. If you choose to avoid these topics, remember that being able to ignore something just because it doesn’t affect you personally is an abuse of your privilege. I urge you to challenge that.
I’ve personally grasped the importance of standing up for both political and non-political issues; we cannot have one without the other.
That doesn’t mean I’m forcing my opinions down your throat, or telling you who you should and shouldn’t vote for in the election. It simply means, when issues occur around the world, it’s ultimately down to you and me to stand up for what you feel is right – and spreading awareness is my way of doing so.
Influencing even one person to understand the importance of becoming globally and somewhat politically/socially conscious – whether that be whilst in the comfort of their home or when on the road – is using your privilege wisely.
Travelling the world is about exploring different cultures, observing other ways of living and experiencing life other than your own. The problem is, those lives you encounter are often filled with issues that desperately and urgently need our attention.
Instead of turning a blind eye, it’s time to realise that without the help of people with privilege, platforms and loud voices, things will never change.
Yes, travel is and always will be an escape – but, it’s also a freedom. It’s important to recognise that without even a brief understanding of the world and the people who rule it, for many people that freedom could instantly be taken away.
I no longer want to worry about whether these posts are what people generally agree with; because there are millions of people around the world who don’t even have access to the most basic human rights, let alone the freedom to travel.
That’s a problem, and a political one.
It would be selfish of me to stop using this blog as a space to voice those sorts of issues. Especially when I know just how much spreading awareness can help change the world.
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