Saturday, December 28, 2013

On Travelling

I don't want to call myself a "jet-setter" but I have always been flying off to somewhere or going to a long drive to a distant city and there are some things that I have come to a realization with. These are just my own thoughts and I haven't really researched anything for facts or anything of the sort.

1) It's always better to travel with a friend/special someone - I am the type of person that will never go explore a city unless I have someone with me. I always have to have things planned out and organized. I have always been a "home-body" so there has to be that extra motivation to go and explore. There is also safety in numbers when travelling to an unknown city. It's also good to have a second person to actually decide on what to do or to problem solve - like figuring out how to take the metro or locate a point of interest. Sure there's always the GPS but sometimes the GPS likes to take you to the wrong places or at least mislead you in some way. Be careful with who you tag along with you though because although travelling together with someone is a way to bond and form special memories it could also tarnish relationships, especially when adrenaline and patience runs low when you're lost and driving/walking around for hours.

2) Bringing a smartphone and purchasing a data plan - My beloved Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has saved me several times and Google Maps is definitely a must. I purchased a sim card from Roam Mobility when I travelled to the states because I saved at least $200 on my roaming bill and I only paid $50 for 2 GB data and unlimited call/text anywhere in the US/Canada while in the states. Although a friend also mentioned purchasing a Sprint sim card and it only costs $3 for unlimited call/text/data. Having a phone with you is like having your own personal tour guide and you can always book hotels, cars, etc online.

3) If reliable public transportation is available then don't rent a car - Well I learned this one the hard way. I drove around New York City and the drive was a nightmare, finding parking was close to impossible, plus I scratched my rental car. Although it is convenient to have your own car, it would be cheaper plus your sanity would be intact if you just let other people take care of the driving. 

4) There is no place like home - I have loved the cities that I have been to and enjoyed the company of the people I travelled with. There will always be something that another city would have that my beloved Deadmonton wouldn't, but there are just some things that another city can't provide. Going to a different city and seeing the different lifestyles (both lavish and also the lifestyle with great inconvenience) made me appreciate my home. I may have to deal with freezing weather and huge piles of snow but I am comfortable and happy with where I live.

In my travels I have met different types of people. Some of them I met just by coincidence but have become good friends. I am surprised by the great generosity of people, the kindness, and the warmth that they would show to travellers and it gives me hope for humanity once again.

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Image from hunafaatravel.com

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Privilege



A recent poster campaign by MacEwan University's U-SOLVE (University Students Offering Leadership for Violence Elimination) has sparked controversy with the student body. White, male, straight, able-bodied individuals cry foul as it felt like an attack on their being. "It isn't their fault, they were born that way" as Lady Gaga would say.

Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack illustrates what white privilege is. Although people are saying that there is something called the "minority privilege" as well. 

As a member of the minority, I believe that it is good to be aware of our privileges and to make sure to use our privilege to help others but a message that segregates other individuals based on their race, sex, gender, and physical attributes is counter-productive.

I love Canada and how multi-cultural it is. However, I believe that everyone of us have a tendency to be racist, except we don't say it out loud for fear of being labeled "racist". Attacks on white people, saying they have everything they have because they are white is wrong. Although studies have shown that just being white will make you healthier than compared to coloured counterparts with the same annual income.

My point is, there is no point trying to bash groups or individuals in an effort to make an awareness that there is inequality in our society. Arguing the white privilege versus the minority privilege is pointless. There will always be inequality. There will always be someone that is smarter than us, more fit than us, more attractive than us, more wealthy than us, more people who have it better than us. We can't always cry out foul and scream "inequality". 

As a member of a minority, all I can do is work my ass off to become the person I want to be without holding a grudge on other people who has it better than me. Even I have some privilege, I am from a middle income family who lives in a first world country. Should I feel bad for my fortune because there are people living in poverty in war-stricken countries? It is not my fault that I am in this position, but I am able to be in a position to help others.

But then again, you have to help in a way to make other people independent. You can't just give people hand-offs, they have to work for it. Providing people money to buy necessities is a short-term fix. Instead, we should invest in businesses to provide these individuals with jobs so that they can have a life. 

Having some privileges is not something to be ashamed off, it's something to be proud of.




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Image taken from ninapaley.com
This is just my opinion
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