This beautiful little film made by Aram Atkinson manages to capture Canada – in about 90 seconds.
This week sees the launch of London’s first ever Good and Green Guide – a carefully curated guide book that helps visitors and residents of London navigate their way around in a sustainable fashion. It’s timely for London as millions of visitors will be coming into town for the upcoming Olympic games and they’ll be able to experience an alternative way of spending their time and money here.
Upon a recent trip to Kenya, I was asked by my host family if I’d like to go on a slum safari. At first I thought it was a joke and then shortly clocked that it wasn’t. Slum safaris – these are real! Foreigners can pay money to go on a tour of Kibera in Kenya, East Africa’s largest slum.
This is reality tourism. And poverty shouldn’t be entertainment. Nor a good photography opp. It’s dehumanising. Like a zoo. Or an exhibition. I think most of us would be unsettled if people paid money to walk around our house and see how we lived.
While my friends jet set to exotic places like Cyprus and India, I’ve opted for a good old summer of Staycations. I’d be lying if I said it was by choice. In fact it wasn’t really. My Staycation plans for this year were born out of my physical inability to leave the UK as I’m currently without my passport.
When the Home Office told me I’d be passportless while they sorted out my residence permit for an unknown period of time, ranging anywhere from 6 months to a year, I felt stranded. I know I shouldn’t really complain. I’m very lucky to have the resources to be able to travel. Also, the average time a refugee goes without a passport can be up to ten years. Now, I’m not comparing my situation to that of a refugee, I’m just showing that I know I shouldn’t actually complain. I should just embrace all that there is around me. So I have.
I’d also like to point out that traveling is truly less stressful and way better for the environment when there are no flights involved. Trains, buses and cars full of friends are the best way to travel.
Staycation 2011 began with a small road trip up to North Devon. We went to North Morte Farm, a lovely campground right on the beach. Aside from an incredible view and lots of greenery, there was loads to see and do. We hiked the Coast Trail, which was really fun (read: hilly) and we experienced proper clotted cream for the first time. It’s delicious. As is cream tea.
Next stop on the staycation was Manchester, which we went to last weekend to see the United v. Chelsea match. I just have to say, I’m NOT a Chelsea or Man U fan. However, I do love football and my other half lives and breathes Manchester United. So you can imagine how exciting it was to happen to come across the team bus for Manchester United and see the whole squad up close and personal on the eve before the big match.
Football aside, Manchester was very good to us. We wandered about Castlefield and Chinatown – both cool places to see. And now I will make a broad sweeping statement that all people in Manchester are friendly. At least that was our experience.
Next on the list for us will be the Norfolk area.
So the moral of this post? Staycations are fabulous. You should go on one.