Crunchy had an interesting post on her blog about air travel and whether travel for tourism is selfish. My feeling? Yes, of course it's selfish. But so are a lot of things like eating meat for most people or even having children. But, then again, most of us aren't claiming to be selfless beings. I'm certainly not. Air travel is simply something I'm not willing to give up right now. So, as I see it, I could either throw my hands in the air and say "Screw it. I'm a hypocrite, so I might as well do nothing," or I could do my darndest to lower my emissions in every other possible way. I've chosen the latter.
But, this got me thinking even more. One of the reasons I'm not willing to give up air travel is simply because I have friends and family scattered on three continents. My mom lives in the Bay Area. My uncle lives in LA. One of my closest friends lives in Chicago. Another lives in New Jersey. My sister lives in New York City. My aunt lives in the UK. My grandmother lives in India. and so forth.
So for my whole life, we have constantly traveled. My mom took me to India when I was less than a year old, and we went back and forth every other year until I was 16. This had two ramifications. One, it tied me, inextricably, to a country on the other side of the world. Two, it ignited the travel bug in me.
When I went to college, I had a few options. One, was a school about 45 minutes away by car. Another was a school out in the Midwest. Because I thought getting out of my safety zone was an important component of growing up, I moved to the Midwest. As a result, I am now tied to the Midwest where many of my friends still live.
Then, after college, I moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment. After spending seven years there, LA is the place I still call Home. Tiny pieces of my heart are hidden in pockets all over that city.
And after that I moved to London. Which has been an amazing, eye-opening experience. I have grown in ways I never thought possible. But, once again, now I have a whole slew of friends from all over the world. Once again, I have built ties to a city miles away from where I grew up.
All this means that for the rest of my life I will have to make tough choices. Do I go to the wedding in South America and emit all that carbon? Or do I hurt my friend deeply by not going? Do I go see my grandmother while I still can? Or do I stay where I am?
This makes me think that the only way to really combat all the travel we're doing, is if we all agree to just ... stay where we were born. Because once we start living in other places, we become linked to those places through friends, family, and a web of memories.
Maybe this means that if one lives in India, one shouldn't migrate to the US. Maybe this means that if you live in Los Angeles, and you get into Harvard, that you shouldn't go. Maybe this means that I should never have moved to London.
This seems, perhaps, the sensible course of action, and yet it makes me deeply sad. Because travel is selfish, undoubtedly so. And yet, I can't help feel that if we all stay where we are, something very important and significant will be lost.
3 months ago