Archives for posts with tag: Travel

Recently in class we read a lecture by Michel Foucault, “Society Must be Defended,” that really got me thinking.

In this essay he talked about the transition between two modes of thinking: man-as-individual, to man-as-species. Before, when we had monarchy and sovereign rulers, an individual’s actions were defining. They determined, at least to an extent, life or death. If a man stole, his right hand would be lopped off. If he insulted the King, his tongue would be cut out. For even more ‘sinful’ acts, he’d be killed. Man-as-species, however, is a shift from individuation to, if you will, ‘massivism.’

I would argue that this shift of the deindividuation of the human is an era we still live in. Today man is one in a society; a nation; a population. We are all ones in 7 billion, and our governments treat us as such.

Our problems only become their problems if they are generalized: when they become the problems of the general public. The problem of one is trivial. It’s meaningless. One in the whole is nothing.

Foucault goes on to describe the term biopolitics, which is when biological processes, such as mortality rates, birth rates, illnesses etc., become political issues. An example he uses is endemics. They cause mass spikes in mortality rates, which are expensive to manage and decrease the productivity of a population. As such, there comes the “solution;” the implementation of public hygiene. It is not out of altruism, where the government personally cares for each individual’s health. Instead it’s a result of the economic consequences of that endemic. It’s a general problem, so they fix it.

What’s more is that governments use biopolitical statistics to influence our behaviour. Yes, it’s true. And no they are not manipulating our every decision. But they are feeding us grandiosely large statistics like mortality rates so that we invest in health care. They paint university degrees as tickets for high paying jobs, success, and happiness. They emphasize stats about the likelihood of accidents so that we invest in car insurance. Would so many of us pay thousands of dollars worth of insurance each year if we didn’t hear about how likely it was to get in a car accident? I’d say not.

That is the power of biopolitics.

So, what’s my point? Are we all just doing what we’re told to, in a society where our contribution to it is manipulated from us? And the summation of each citizen’s contributions creates a stable economy so that our government can function? Is our sole purpose, in their eyes, to be tax paying citizens? Foucault would say yes. Most anti-institutionalists, and countless others, would agree. And, contrarily, lots would disagree.

I would say that right now, yeah that’s probably the case. But there’s good news. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s a social shift occurring. It’s becoming more evident as Generation Y graduates from college and doesn’t immediately integrate into the corporate world. We’re refusing more and more to become cogs in the machine. We’re traveling more. We’re creating new innovative jobs that we’ve never seen before. Industry as a career is fading into the generation behind us. Sustainability is a Major at University.

These are all examples of this social revolution.

Between the three children in my family, born to a businessman and a lawyer, we have three picturesque examples of Generation Y. A Canadian Athlete, who is choosing to set his sights on making a career out of sailing (check out his website here http://matthewrydersailing.com). A video game design major, who is as passionate about video games the way most people are passionate about chocolate or coffee. And a creative writing major, who is going to join the career path of the thousands of “starving writers.” None of us chose traditional careers. Each of us pursued what we were most passionate about despite the challenges we will undoubtedly face because of it.

But why should we have done any differently?

To say we know what we’re doing is a laughable misconception. We haven’t figured out how this new social attitude will fit into the world over the next fifty or so years. We’re transitioning away from what we know. We’re focusing more on what we care about. And we care less about money. We really do.

Generation Y would rather live frugally than work a 9-5 cubical job. It’s just what we want out of life. We’re focusing less on society as a whole; we’re ascribing less importance on our industrial or economical contribution. We care as much about our community as the youth always have, but we’re valuing less the monetary aspects of it.

To be clear, we’re not shifting backwards to focus on the individual again. We’re evolving into placing importance somewhere entirely new. Passion and experience. Humanity has now gone from emphasizing the individual, to focusing on us as a species, to caring about our relationship with the world, and its relationship to us. We want to get more out of life than financial stability. We want to travel because it’s interesting. We want to work towards something amazing because we’re passionate about it.

This social revolution is a shift beyond biopolitics. It’s a movement away from the institution as sovereign. It’s an evolution away being a cog in the outdated machine. We are our own machines. And our cogs are what we choose to invest our time in, not our money.

I’m not going to pretend we understand it all. I’m not to say we’re going to get it right. But we’re going to do what we love, and try to make that work.

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If life is a journey and the statement, “ten years down the road” is true, then what would you like to see in your rear view mirror?

Modern terms like “YOLO” and #noregrets have attempted to encapsulate this feeling that every one of us tends to have at some point or another but in a rather shallow and misused way. What do you actually want to do in your life to make it worth it in the end?

Another longer lasting theme is immortality: that timeless search for it that is so often seen in mythology. It’s what makes fame so enticing to so many: feeling like you mean something to the entirety of the world. The successes in this are people like Julius Caesar and Shakespeare. They have the immortal names: although they can’t live forever, their legacies won’t be forgotten by the human race.

And then there’s us. One in 9 billion. I think it’s been touched upon enough in other places to avoid delving into saying too much about how fame is overrated and not as fulfilling as most initially expect. And there are ways in which we touch the people around us day to day that are so much richer than being the headline of a tabloid could ever be.

We have an innate want or need to be felt by other human beings. It’s magnified by our insecurities but it is also entirely natural. We want to feel noticed by those around us, or justified by their good opinions of us. How many people can say with absolute honesty that they don’t care what a single other human being thinks about them? I know I am definitely not one of those desperately few and inhuman people. I care about the views of my friends, my family, and the people that I know, trust, love, and value in their persons and in their opinions. I value their esteem because I value their opinions. It means so much more to have their support when I know it’s based on good reasoning. It is this inner natural quality that makes us want to be remembered. We’re afraid of being inconsequential.

Being a part of that statistic 1:9 000,000,000,000, which we all are, can be daunting. Just look at all those zeroes. All those zeroes and one nine. Well, I don’t know about you but I want to be the nine.

I want my back mirror to be filled with nines. Bursting with colourful nines from all over the place. I want to look back and think wasn’t that a life to live.

Now the question is how we get all those nines. What are my nines? 

Happiness is the easy answer. But what goes into making happiness? I want to furnish the insides of my brain with knowledge and experiences that help fill my head with relevant and interesting questions. I want to surround myself with people that challenge my thoughts and my way of thinking so that I’m constantly refurbishing into new and better ideas. I want to see sunrises and sunsets, stories filled with laughter and songs and smiles: smiles that I helped create, laughter that I helped sing. I want to travel to places I’ve never been, and revisit some I have. I want to fulfill my hopes and dreams: I want to publish a book.

I want to a see a life. One that was fun to live.

I’m not so interested in making my mark on the world. Because sooner or later there won’t be the world I know to leave a mark on. I’d rather live my life for me, something that lasts as long as I need it to. I’d rather make it the best life I can live, and leave it with a fulfillment.

But to do that, I’ve got to go do all those wonderful things I’ve set my sights on. And I’m luckier than some that I have my health and my youth to help me do just that.

I need to stop saying “after school,” or “next year,” or “when I have the time and the money.” I need to start realizing that I can’t make excuses forever. I need to start saving for my nines, putting time away for them, realizing that next year means now.

So I ask you: what do you want to see in your rearview mirror? And when are you going to start collecting your nines?

 

Thank you to deannasallao for requesting and suggesting the prompt for this post! You can check her top ten things out here: http://talkaboutbeauty.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/travel-essentials-must-haves/

 

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel all over the world to exotic locations. Whether it’s to the beach, the slopes, or the various beautiful European cities, there are a few things I can’t seem to leave behind. Some may be for necessity, others perhaps less so.

 

#1. My camera. This particular item may not be necessity but it may as well be. It basically becomes an accessory or a fifth limb in beautiful foreign places.

 

#2. My face wash. Especially after a long plane ride a refreshing face wash is what you want.

 

#3. Face moisturizer. For similar reasons but also particularly at the end of flights when you’re a little dehydrated (which is natural when ascending 30,000 ft in the air) and your skin feels a little parched.

 

#4. A good book for long train rides, plane rides, beautiful beaches or parks. Especially one by a really good author that you can savour the sentences and read it as slowly as you like.

 

#5. That slim but versatile dress. It packs away without taking up much space or adding to your luggage weight. You never ever know when you’re going to want to pull out a nice outfit: even when you’re on the road.

 

#6. A water bottle. Although some places are harder to find a good clean water source you never know when it can come in handy. And, when empty, it’s virtually weightless in your pack and can be filled with clean clothes to maximize space. It also might save you a couple of bucks when you don’t have to buy water.

 

#7. A deck of cards. Because in all seriousness you never know when this one will come out. On the plane; in your hostel; at a rest stop on a long hiking trail. Make friends and break the ice while being able to learn about what led all these wildly different people to the same place at the same time. Also, when you’re alone you can pass the time and play solitaire J

 

#8. Hair brush! Maybe it’s because I have such long hair but my special detangling brush is a necessity: twice daily. I’m serious.

 

#9. An envelope filled with ticket stubs, maps, or destination explanations so that I’m not spending vacation time planning my vacation. I’m more of a traveler who prefers to make the plan as I’m in the place, rather than setting my sights on a schedule in advance without knowing how I’ll feel when I get there. As it is, I do the research ahead of time and know my options. Every day I take a look and then go with whatever invites me the most.

 

#10. Journal. I know, I know. If you’re not much into journaling then this one isn’t relevant. Journaling has been all over the web recently and people tend to be either really into it, or not at all. But, hear me out. Especially when you’re just travelling for a few days or weeks a journal can go a long way. Even if it’s just writing down directions or other little things that were funny or interesting in your day. In five, ten years down the road you might not remember. And memories are priceless.

 

 

So those would be the top ten things I need to travel with. Maybe you wouldn’t agree with them all, and maybe you would substitute something here or there. If that’s the case I’d love to hear what you’d nix and what you’d keep! Comment below!

 

Any other requests, or questions, please leave in the comment section and I will be sure to respond as quickly as I’m able. 🙂 Thanks in advance!

           Whenever/wherever you travel, particularly if you have an extreme case of jet lag, take a photo of the sunrise. Find a beach, a mountain, or a high rise. It’s a beautiful way to see the morning.

           P.S. This includes when you travel home! 🙂