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Tourist Go Home

Article in ABC NEWS Australia

   Thirty years ago, affordable travel to the proletariat implied a 2-hour road trip, by bus or one’s own vehicle. Today, three month’s savings for a flying holiday can make any planetary destination doable.

Item / Year 1985 2015
Minimum-hourly salary $3.35 $7.25
Avg. domestic flight $595 $337
Hours worked 177.61 46.48

    My research showed that in 1985 USA, the price of a domestic flight was around 3.8 times that of 2015, if accounting hourly-minimum wages, which on today’s money would render a $1287 price tag for a domestic flight.

   Internationally, a return-flight from Sydney to London in 2016 averages around $1,700 and using the same metrics, that same ticket would have cost today a whopping $9,363.

   Therefore, if the masses travel overseas today, it is not because they want but because they can. The cultural shift, specially in the west, has been dramatic.

   Perhaps limited power of acquisition has desirable philosophical outcomes, searching for meaningfulness within one’s geographical limits, unprostituted of distracting possibilities. It forces the search for joy within one’s means, the commonalities of the surroundings and the proper self, instead of believing joy is somewhat hidden in the boondocks of Southeast Asia or in the indulgence of sensorial experiences, like the savouring of exotic dishes.

   Philosophies from “The Alchemist”, where the main character travels to far distant lands to discover that a treasure had been “under his nose” all along, must be emphasized. Mothers warn their children: “Don’t touch the hot pan”. Yet its novelty is hypnotizing: disregard advise and experience it. Wise move?

   Everyone claims that the best food, best methods for this… and that… is from their native land, very typical of the contemporaneous traveller whilst on the road.Perhaps traveling is dichotomously subjective, between our “possessions” and “the best”? Paradoxically, if the best is at home, is travelling a wise move?

   Wise is not the one that knows but the one that does with what is known, and awe inspired to define the symbols travel, holiday and roaming within the scopes of my ethical writings, the closing thoughts are from the dead poet:

“You don’t have to travel around the world to understand that the sky is blue everywhere.”

-Johan von Goethe