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Year of No Flying

2010 February 28
by Aparna

Some of us have those friends who are able to take some time off to travel the globe.  I have these friends. I look at them with a mixture of awe, jealousy, and a “how the hell did they do that” kinda look.

So, when I began reading about two friends’ journey, I didn’t think much of it at first as being new. And then I began to read about what they were going to attempt to do.

Anirvan and Barnali (both of whom I met through their ASATA connection, another progressive-y collective–this one in the Bay Area) have committed to a new way of traveling.

As they describe it, they are “spending a year trying to live aviation-free, traveling across continents, and talking to people exploring solutions to transportation and the climate crisis.” Ridiculously awesome.

As many of us travel back to our respective motherlands–for weddings, adventures, and hopes of reconnecting–Barnali and Anirvan have taken it to another level. They are exploring more responsible options for travel and engaging with local activists, scientists, and cool folks to share their stories.

They also talk about how to not continually submit ourselves to the “tourism industrial complex.” You know what I’m talking about–when we participate in making our people into subjects to observe or when we create “tourist-y” areas only to then dis-invest in them because they have become, well, too touristy.

Barnali and Anirvan’s adventure began with taking a container ship traveling from Seattle to Yokohama, Japan.  It evokes memories of a time when our families sailed to their new homes and created our diasporic identities, so eloquently described in Minal Hajratwala’s Leaving India and Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies–stories of our people–some voluntarily and others not so–boarding the ships for South Africa, Fiji, and beyond.

You will love reading Anirvan and Barnali’s adventures like “Agriculture 2.0,” connecting urban dwellers with healthy local food, while supporting farmers and educating consumers and how they spent their holidays in Cambodia. This month, our fearless travelers went to Bangladesh talking to a wide range of people about climate change, development issues, social change, and art.

Year of No Flying is a really great example of good folks who practice what they preach, and while you or I are unlikely to hop onto a container ship in the near future, it will remind us how we can be more conscious of how we travel and contribute to the Tourist Industrial Complex.

Safe travels Barnali and Anirvan….

One Response
  1. Rabya permalink*
    March 3, 2010

    Thanks Aparna. Didn’t know about their blog. Impressive.

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