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Controversial Travel Issues and Other Things I Think About

Travel stories by nature are about places, or at least about place, about how we use a specific geographic or cultural lens to look at a place.

But sometimes, these stories are about issues because, like it or not, travel is a political act. When we choose to spend our money in a country, we are - at least tacitly - supporting what happens in that country. When we stay in a hotel, we are increasing it's income, whether it pollutes with waste water or not. When we buy a souvenir, we are supporting a workshop, whether it uses child labor or well-paid staff.

Granted, it's easier to deny all this and pretend we're just off to see beautiful sunsets, bask in luxury and eat delightful foods. That may well be our plan, but what we do affects others in ways we may never imagine.

That's why I like to look at issues more closely, things that are travel-related but at times go beyond "just travel". I love seeing the world as much as the next woman but I'd like to think I'm not leaving it worse off as I pass through. I may not always succeed, but if I know more about the situation, the politics, the social issues, I'll be in a better place to make a contribution, however minor.

The following stories reflect some of the issues we might run across in our travels. You don't have to agree with me - in fact, I'm always willing to examine an alternative - but we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking these things don't matter. They may not to us, but they may to hundreds, perhaps thousands of others.

I've also added issues I think about that aren't necessarily political - but they needed a home!

Issues I Think About...