Na novo moramo odkriti smisel potovanj

Zapis Amandine Moriniere, ki v Focusu opravlja prakso v okviru študija na Political Sciences Institute (Rennes – Campus de Caen). Dvajsetletna Francozinja je na “papir” prelila svoje misli o potovanjih, ki jim je Covid-19 naredil konec. Toda: “ali je to res slabo?” se sprašuje in ponuja odgovor, do katerega je prišla tudi prek izkušnje bivanja v Sloveniji.

We need to reinvent what it means to travel

In our modern world travelling is quite common. For tourism, work or studies people travel all around the world. The low prices of plane trips enable you to go literally everywhere. However, today this habit of travelling is questioned – because of Covid-19. Planes are stuck on the ground, people can’t cross borders so easily, we have to stay in our home and stop travelling. Also today we know more than ever that we have to stop using planes if we want to lower our greenhouse gas emissions. I believe this period is the perfect moment to examine why we need to travel.

 “Nothing develops intelligence like travel”

People travel for work for companies that are more and more international . People travel for studies with the Erasmus program. And people travel just for a hobby; it’s quite common to see people going abroad for their holidays, even if only for a few days. It seems normal to travel. For younger people it can even be seen as a step in the construction of your identity. The democratization of the use of planes with lower and lower prices enables us to go always farther and farther. What was once reserved to the wealthiest is now accessible to everyone (or at least middle class). You can go everywhere, whenever you want and without a huge cost. Travelling is now a common reality. It’s something that is part of the ordinary whether it’s for tourism, work or studies.

But why do we need to travel? Besides professional reasons, what are the reasons that push people to leave their home and go abroad? Is it for the discovery of a new culture? Is it for the beautiful landscape? Is it for the possibility to meet new people? The answer is probably a mix of all of that and much more. When you decide to travel you want to discover and see everything. You want to face the difference and encounter alterity. To go to another country is about trying new things, being open to new people and getting out of your comfort zone.  You discover yourself and confront your own identity. It’s not just about going abroad it’s about thinking. Emile Zola said: “Nothing develops intelligence like travel”. But do we need to go that far away to have this reflection and to encounter alterity? 

Think about the journey

Because of the coronavirus we are forced to stop, it’s now impossible to travel. Well, we can still travel but in much closer space since it’s difficult to go outside Europe. In my case I can’t go to Argentina in 2021 meaning that I have to stay in France or keep travelling in Europe. I can’t go as far away as I expected but is it really a problem? Isn’t it possible to discover things in Europe? People could have a frustration about not being able to travel with this situation, but maybe it’s time to think about our habits. To stay in our country may not be as exotic but there is still a lot to see and do. We can’t travel anymore, but can’t we do other things instead?

This period is actually a great opportunity to stop and ponder what is wrong and maybe change something. Indeed travelling has a cost, in pollution. More people travel by plane nowadays even when there are other options. But air transport is the most polluting way of transport. In 2015 it represented 11 % of transport CO2 emissions, meaning 1.5% of total CO2 emissions. Even without mentioning other gas emissions, its impact on global warming is huge. This means that we have to reduce our use of planes. If you travel in Europe, you can easily go around by train or bus. We have this incredible opportunity so we should use it even if that means we need more time to complete the journey. Actually this time is precious; it’s an opportunity to think about the journey and to understand what’s happening in your life. Travelling by plane means that you arrive in another place quickly without even realizing it. We need to rethink our way of travelling. Not using the plane shouldn’t be seen as deprivation but as an opportunity to do things in a different way. Refusing to use a plane means an ambition to change our way of living and a step towards better future.

Travelling is an attitude

And in the end – do we really need to travel at all? I explained the advantages of travelling but can’t we find all these advantages near our home? Maybe we don’t really need to travel to find what we are looking for. When I arrived in Slovenia I wanted to discover everything. Every weekend I was rushing to see another region, another mountain, another lake… And then I realized I never did that in France. I lived in different cities but I don’t know them as much as I know Ljubljana, and I lived in different regions that I never tried to discover. Now I see I don’t know France. I didn’t take the time to discover my own country. Why? When you travel you want to see everything, this is why you are here, but we should adopt the same point of view for our home region. For Carl Thompson a journey is a movement in space which can lead to discovery. This movement doesn’t need to go far. We should learn to discover new things in our common life. Each time that we are leaving our home we are doing a journey that can lead to discovery.

Travelling is more than just going abroad, it’s more than just moving. Travelling is a state of mind, it’s an attitude that you have. In my opinion,  to travel means to be open minded. You have to be ready to learn and discover. And you don’t need to go abroad or to go on a plane to do that. You can do that locally. Maybe you need to provoke things more than if you would go at the world’s end. You just need to look at things with a traveler’s eyes. Be open, curious and ready to be amazed with every little thing. For Marcel Proust “the real discovery trip is not about seeking new landscapes, but to have new eyes”. I think that says everything: we don’t need to travel but we need to learn to see things in different ways. The future may seem gloomy without travelling, but what we really need to do is to reinvent what it means to travel.

 

Amandine Moriniere je študentka drugega letnika na Sciences Po Rennes – Campus de Caen. Zanima jo trajnostni razvoj in prilagajanje na podnebne spremembe, predvsem z vidika participacije skupnosti, posameznikov, vseh vpletenih…

V Focusu opravlja prakso od prvega septembra. Doslej je največ časa posvetila delu na področju dolžne skrbnosti (human rights and environmental due diligence), prispevala je k pripravi in izvedbi dveh mini ozaveščevalnih spletnih kampanj  – ob Dnevu brez nakupov in za bolj trajnostni december, sodelovala pa je tudi pri oblikovanju mladinskega manifesta v okviru projekta Moja revolucija 3.0.