Saturday, 26 December 2015

Slow Down! Our Fast-Paced World is making us Sick!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re racing against time, trying to meet the deadlines and pressures of work? Most likely, your answer would be a DEFINITE yes and that’s not even your fault!

In today’s fast-paced times, where not only are competition levels growing, but also with the rapid growth of e-commerce due to digitisation, it is hard to stay away from electronic devices such as your smart phone, laptop or tablet.

WHY? The answer is quite simple and that's because its how we all make our living and at the end of the day what counts is how much money we have, RIGHT! Moreover, to top all of this off, we have to take care of ourselves!

Whether it is about going to the gym or visiting a doctor or therapist to help us deal with the constantly bombarding amount of stress and anxiety that we face in our lives.

Slow living is the exact opposite of what is going on in our hectic and demanding lives. Can you remember the last time you focused less on chasing the demands of life and focused more on your own holistic well being and health? It’s hard to pinpoint that as we all are trapped in this vicious race of living in times of pressures of social, psychological and physical ailments.   

Depression, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms, anger, frustration are just some of the many different emotions that are a result of ‘fast-living’!

Fast living of course is the exact opposite of slow living and involves living during times where we are constantly seeking ways to live in the easiest possible manner, relying on fast food, fast money and fast movement. How negative the consequences are, if we really think about it!

So, what’s this all about? With phone calls constantly ringing, checking emails, racing through traffic, less time for family life, less time for friends, less time for yourself; is life really meaningful or is it just a task? What is the bigger picture in life? Is it just about running from task to task and chore to chore?

How busy are your really to not have time for your basic well-being? This is a question we all have to ask ourselves, because after all life has a far deeper meaning than all of this, right! When was the last time that you reflected back on your life and thought about what you are actually doing?

We are all infected with perhaps a virus of constantly being hurried, spending more hours in front of the computer screen, being busy and not paying attention to our health or even our happiness!

Is this what are lives are all about and how can we really do what we really want to do in life?

Life has got an ever accelerated pace and this actually imposes a setback to our happiness and well-being. Haven’t you found yourself ever complaining that you wish there were more hours in a day or your not able to complete your task at hand because of less time?

Whether it is a working mom, employees from corporates or self-employed professionals; we are all so caught up with things to do in life.

Ironically, despite knowing that slow living is good for health we are all constantly trying to speed our lives up and completely against slow living. There actually has been an associated tag against ‘slow living’, linking it with bad and negative habits such as being lazy or lethargic.

The real question we have to ask ourselves, ‘Is Faster Really Better?’, and ‘Are we really living our Lives or Just racing through them’?



Thursday, 10 December 2015

Travel With Your Eyes Open: Responsible Tourism- Part 2

Whether it is a business trip, luxury beach villa, volunteering project, solo trip to any other type of vacation it is very important to remember that tourism carries with it a sense of responsibility. This responsibility, termed, as ‘responsible tourism’ is the management of tourism, where economic, social and environmental benefits are maximised.

When was the last time that you went for a holiday and actually paid attention to the culture of the region that you were in? Although tourism is one of the main reasons for uniting hundreds and thousands of people, it is absolutely important and imperative for travellers to abide by certain travel ethics and prevent destruction of a region’s heritage, culture and habitat.

A very popular adage, “Take only photographs, leave only footprints” can very aptly be used in this context. Besides tourism being of different types such as ecotourism, sustainable tourism, medical tourism, pro-poor tourism, mass tourism, social tourism to even creative tourism; there are plenty of leisure-oriented trips that are popular in summer, winter and other seasons across the world.

One of the most important aspects to being a responsible tourist is being sensitive to the culture, people, customs and etiquette of a place that you are visiting. This is especially the case in Asian countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China, Korea, etc. The western manner of conduct is not necessarily the right way in all parts of the world.  It is extremely important to mix with the locals of the community, as you are first of all visiting their country and land. You may be viewed with suspicion or curiosity but you have to maintain an open mind and learn from your experience!

Dressing appropriately is one of the most important local guidelines that one can abide as a responsible tourist. Dressing inappropriately, even if it’s to a historical site can be viewed as offensive. 

Littering is one of the most common pitfalls of tourism, especially in developing countries, which do not even have a refuse collective system! Avoid purchasing products in disposable packaging.      

Visiting countries that are well known for their wildlife is one of the main reasons why tourists flock to a certain locality. It is very important to remember that these animals also need to be respected in their habitat. Littering again in parks or trying to feed animals when not permitted should be avoided!

Even if you are trekking or mountain biking with a group, some friends or alone you should stick to the marked paths at all points of time. While this is not only for safety sake it will also help to prevent unnecessary soil erosion in the region!

There are many ways by which you can be a responsible tourist. This includes ensuring that things are done before you leave for holiday, during the holiday and after you return.

While many people may at the most pay attention to one or two of these aspects it is extremely important to focus on all three approaches. You need to ensure that you do your research about the destination beforehand.

Be well aware of the cultural, ecological and religion specifics of the region you plan to visit! Even when you are packing make sure you carry appropriate clothing, especially when you intend to visit historical and cultural sites!

Upon returning from your holiday it is also very important to share your knowledge with other people; whether it is tips, hints or any information that you can pass on to a fellow traveller. You could also donate to different NGO’s or charities that work on causes in the area that you had just visited.  I am blogging for #ResponsibleTourism activity by Outlook Traveller in association with BlogAdda." Are you going to be a responsible traveller or not?

Travel With Your Eyes Open: Responsible Tourism- Part 1

Travel and tourism is no doubt an important industry in itself, but is also the lifeblood of many important states from different countries across the world. It has even become an important component of a country’s economy and is also one of the biggest industries in the world. In fact, if we look at the tourism within our country- India, it is known to have tremendous potential to promote faster, sustainable and even inclusive growth!  

Travel, within the country (domestic) or even international, has plenty of benefits as well as consequences on a country’s growth.  This may include economic, social and environmental benefits that tourism brings about. So, while many of us tend to focus more on the positives, the harsh consequences that tourism may leave upon countries are often neglected.

Some of the main benefits that tourism can bring into a local economy include various things, some being payment of goods and services required by tourists and increasing opportunities of employment in the service sector of the economy that is associated with tourism.

Environmental Consequences of Tourism!

Did you know that although tourism is known for the vast number of positive effects it has on the society it also poses a serious threat on a region’s natural as well as cultural environment? Probably not! Whether it refers to heritage sits, beaches, coral reefs or even water supplies; it is all being threatened through its overuse. Moreover through tourism there is a staggering amount of air pollution being caused through traffic emissions, increased sewage, littering and noise pollution! 

Social Consequences of Tourism

Although we may not want to consider this, there are several serious negative social effects that tourism can have on a place.  Some of these may include drugs and alcohol problems, increased crime levels, prostitution, crowding and congestion, infringement of human rights where locals can even be displaced from their land to make way for new homes or even barred from beaches! Even interaction with tourists form a local community could lead to a complete erosion of traditional values and cultures!

Economic Consequences of Tourism

Tourism is well known to be the lifeblood of the economic development of a country, but at the same time poses severe economic threats.  Besides the fact that tourism itself is responsible for seasonal and poorly paid jobs, tourism is often dependent on tax revenues from the Government.  This money is used for establishing a better infrastructure- such as better roads, hotels and visitor centres. However, this is not always the case. In addition to this, the money that is generated from tourism may not even benefit the local community, but instead go to international companies such as hotel chains, etc. Destinations, which are known to be tourist spots, may also be prone to natural disasters, economic recessions and events such as terrorism, which can blow the economy!   

So, with all these drawbacks that tourism brings about it is extremely important to be a responsible tourist while travelling.  “I am blogging for #ResponsibleTourism activity by Outlook Traveller in association with BlogAdda."  Read my next entry to know more about responsible tourism!