Why do we visit other countries? Is it to absorb a different culture, to indulge in new experiences, to breathe in the aroma of different lands, to meet different peoples with strange languages, to broaden our knowledge? This is how it was, or so it was intended.
We go, we visit and we complain. We have tourist opinion polls on the services offered, the facilities, the food. We even get involved in the politics of the visited country. And, don’t like what we’ve seen? Doesn’t live up to our expectations? Not like “where we come from”? Do we just return to our familiar habitat, vowing not to visit the country again? No, we change it, even in the short while we are there, we change it.
We can’t help ourselves. It’s something we do—and we do it well to the detriment of all involved. We have to live in a place with all the amenities we have at home. Eat at restaurants that serve our food. Support companies that deliver our toys for when we should, perhaps visit again. We want what we have at home—in someone else’s country. Dissatisfied is dissatisfied no matter where we go. We take it with us.
Instead of miles of undisturbed beaches, beautiful countryside, open spaces, there are billboards touting new developments for sale. Condominiums, high rises, luxury hotels, every service the tourist could wish for, every inch of beautiful white sand planted with tourist flora of umbrellas and deck chairs—everything to be had at home.
Why? Why not then stay home?
Travel magazines are no longer travelogues inviting us to “go and see” exotic destinations. They are real estate catalogues, property guides—this condominium for sale, that exclusive resort, this investment opportunity.
And the governments of the countries that allow it to happen are no less guilty than the tourists who expect it to happen. More money into the country from tourists means more facilities can be built to draw more tourists. It’s good for the economy. What economy? The real economy?—or the pseudo economy being created by the masses of dissatisfied visitors?
Count the empty houses. In one street of 13 houses, eight are standing locked up and empty; their owners live elsewhere. These are for the once-a-year guests. Or some rich tycoon’s holiday home. How many houses can a person live in at one time? Even animals now have two habitats—their semi-natural one and a rehabilitation centre.
We are lifting the Earth’s “high tide” mark to the point where it has nowhere left to go. There are already too many houses, too many buildings, too many people. The Earth is groaning under the sheer weight of it all. Every inch of space is being developed to assuage man’s intolerable greed. Feel the difference in the temperature of built up areas as opposed to open spaces in the same vicinity. The heat reflected from buildings and other structures is palpable to even the most insensitive of humans.
Climate change isn’t something that is happening somewhere else, it’s happening here—wherever humans gather. Every now and then Nature shakes its head in annoyance and a natural disaster occurs, wiping out some hundreds of thousands of people. Not listening? Nature stamps its foot and an uncontrollable, untreatable disease makes its mysterious appearance, wiping out millions. And it’s happening more often.
There are no other worlds to conquer. No other planets where man can live. If there are, the universe is keeping them carefully hidden away. We will never find them. We don’t deserve to.
This is it.
If we carry on building, breeding and breaking down, it will soon be gone. The day will come when nature puts its foot down. And that, fellow humans will be that.
Go look, go enjoy, go absorb and then go home with beautiful memories. Do no harm and leave NO footprints.