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… But 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 controversies, 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 ⏤ the empath in me analyses the entire scenario.
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 in power, 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.
Totally agree with you Kate, there are many countries which even don’t allow their people to use the internet and other services by which can connect to other people of the world. Political powers are also restricting their freedom in many other ways. So, political will is an important factor for people to travel and feel free to visit other parts of the world.
Thanks Utsav! You’re so right, I think it’s so important to use privilege to help spread positive messages and encouragement to those who are restricted by negative political power. It’s a tricky topic, but it’s amazing to see others helping those in need! X
Politics and Travel can not be discussed together. politics is a restriction and travel is a freedom. Lets travel to explore the world.
Thanks for your input! Unfortunately I completely disagree. Yes, travel is a freedom – but millions of people don’t have the access to travel entirely due to politics. The people that have the ability to see the world without fear or conflict are nothing short of privileged; and it’s up to those people to help those that aren’t. It’s important to remember that politics play a major role in travel for millions of innocent people because they are a minority. It would be selfish of me to not discuss politics because it doesn’t affect me, when there are so many people whose lives are at risk because of it.