Greetings from Thailand!
Well, the rollercoaster that is 2020 continues to tear along at breakneck speed (can you believe we're six weeks from Christmas?), but there have been some glimmers of good news in recent weeks.
This past week you probably heard about the preliminary results from Pfizer's vaccine trials; if you haven't, there's a good analysis of it in the World Stories links below. While I think it's still too soon to speak definitively about it, we are most definitely allowed to get a bit excited...the storm continues to rage but we may have sighted the shoreline in the distance.
The other big news recently was of course the recent election south of the border, a divided affair which made me pause and think about likemindedness, and the ways in which it can go wrong. We bill ourselves as a community of likeminded travellers, which admittedly begs the question...what do we really mean by likeminded, anyway?
When likemindedness means base tribalism, echo chambers, and sacrificing learning and growth for the comfort of the known, it leads us to polarization and disunity. If we exclusively seek the company of those who share our views, biases, and opinions, they harden and we become less open, less tolerant of the differences that add flavour and depth to our shared experience. This makes doing anything constructive extremely challenging
Likeminded to me refers to a shared worldview, and it follows that a shared worldview and a sense of community could indeed be labeled a tribe. These days 'tribe' seems to carry a lot of pejorative associations, but to me it's about the feeling of belonging you get when you're with a group of people who share your way of thinking and feeling about whatever it is that bonds you.
So this is the context for likemindedness in our community - an open-minded approach to travel as a mechanism for growing ourselves and the opportunity to expand our concept of what it means to be human. We go out seeking different cultures, customs, food, and people, and not simply to observe them but to engage and participate and learn along the way.
It doesn't mean we don't have a variety of religious or political affiliations, but it does mean the spirit of open-mindedness, tolerance and curiosity underpins our engagements with one another and when we're on the road.
When you think about it, travel wouldn’t be interesting without difference, which raises the question - could you have a community of close-minded travellers? (doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?)
I suppose to some degree you could - you could travel without exploring or expanding yourself, spend all your time in a gated resort, eat from known restaurants, and the same beer or wine you drink at home. I don't know if this community exists anywhere...but it sure sounds like a tough sell to me.
All of this is to say that what I love about this community is the open-minded approach our members have toward travel and the camaraderie of our shared experiences. It is deeply meaningful for me to be connected to all of you in this way, and if you haven't yet had the chance to get together with us at one of our events or on one of our trips, I hope this gives you a little more insight into how we see things around here.
A few years back I tried to capture these sentiments in the form of the Traveller's Creed, which you can find below. While I think much of it still resonates, this seems a good time to solicit input from the you and update or add to it, in the spirit of collaboration and community. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, and next week I'll share what everyone had to say.
Until then, I hope you stay warm, safe and happy...more good things to come.