“Tourism is about the consumption of place. Like every other form of consumption, it is dependent upon brands. As Naomi Klein has pointed out, we live in the golden age of branding, and Majorca and Amsterdam and Hawaii and New Zealand are brands, as much as Levis or Calvin Klein.”
“Tourism today may be widespread, but it is subject to certain constraints. We may be able fly to a distant location for a holiday, but we are often able to spend only a brief period – a few days or a couple of weeks – there, before returning to dreary jobs and mechanical day to day routines. Travel has become the ‘other’ of work. Because we are often so busy at work, we choose to be indolent on holiday – to switch off cell phones and brains and lie on a beach. If we are obsequious at work, trying to impress or placate workmates or customers, then we can be selfish and demanding on holiday. Our interactions with the people and places we are visiting are often carefully mediated and commercialised. The inhabitants of the places we visit are more likely to be pouring us drinks than sitting talking to us over a drink. Life on a typical package holiday is as unbalanced, in its own way, as life in a modern workplace often is.”
– Scott Hamilton. Read the whole thing here
Everywhere All The Time #1 is a radical travel zine featuring tons of color photos, sketches and writings from all ova the place, wrapped in a vellum cover and completely typewritten on my Remington Streamliner. Click on the ‘read the zine’ button to pre-order for $5 now and get free shipping; remember I’m sending this shit from Ecuador!
More on what the heck ‘radical travel’ is…to come!
I stood guard over Rocio’s pack and stared at the stuff being sold at the stands across the phone booths: long plastic bags stacked with small apples hanging from mysterious corners like appendages, lollipops of every color, fresh empanadas
, bread wrapped in brown paper bags stained with margarine. An indigenous woman with two long braids sat on a stool between the stands and stared nowhere. Rocio said the call didn’t go through and I played with a tiny white puppy for a few minutes, I think. Who knows? Time flies when you’re playing with tiny white puppies at the bus terminal.
To the West, dark clouds hung low over the peaks, full of storm. To the East, the sun shown in a light blue sky and fluffy white clouds stuck onto it like balls of cotton. How could the sky fit all this contrasting madness? I hurt my neck checking it all out. This is Quito.
So, an eleven hour bus ride. Rocio took the window seat and fell asleep. It took awhile escaping the city for it to transform into country – cows grazing on steep mountains, indigenous women sitting on stoops with green or black fedora hats, flowing blue velvet skirts and their faces in their palms. A deaf black man got on the bus and handed out little pieces of paper that read “there is no work for people like me.” I gave him fifty cents and he gave me tons of tamarind favored candy – hard on the outside with a soft, chewy center. I felt like they were the symbol of something foul. I felt guilty. I ate them all.
In the time it takes to blink, your whole life can change.
Well, mine has, in a very beautiful way. My life is full of unplanned, random, magical changes. Sometimes not so good, but I’ve become a professional at keeping my heart open and my mind open and not worrying too much and working very, very hard. So when I blinked and saw my life had changed, not even how or why or any of that stuff, just saw it, I was watching the sphere of the full moon rise above one of the highest Volcanoes in the world, Cotopaxi. I became emotional.
I’ve been asked to work at an incredible place, a once in an lifetime opportunity. So, what do ya think I said? IncaHacienda.com
“I modeled Yunior clearly on my own experience as an immigrant kid growing up in NJ. That binary…of home/failure or away/success—I grew up with that shit all around me, the Scylla and Charybdis of my childhood. On one side you had the escape narrative that insisted that the only way out of economic social deprivation—the only way to advance, to make something of yourself—was to abandon your community and build a life exclusively in the larger (whiter) world (as if the reason one is poor and marginalized is because of one’s community). A narrative that was on me particularly hard as an immigrant, as a kid who had been designated as “smart.” The idea that I would maintain any loyalty to my broke-ass landfill neighborhood once I got to college was considered on all sides as pretty absurd. (Clearly I understand the desire to escape insecurity and hostile material conditions, but I don’t agree you need to erase the past that made you possible to do so. Any success that requires you to sacrifice your younger self over the altar of Advancement is no success at all—at least not to me.)”
“As an immigrant and an honors student (before I got kicked out of that track senior year) and as a kid who grew up deep in the neighborhood, I had both narratives on me to an oppressive degree. And felt a lot of pressure to choose one side or another: to either embrace home like mad or reject it like mad. Of course within each choice was embedded a whole set of expectations. If you stay at home, don’t talk too much about books, don’t try to get motherfuckers to engage in “intellectual’ discussions,” don’t talk about an ethnic studies course you took or the study abroad you did in Japan. Same thing: if you go away to say college, don’t dwell too much on race and certainly not on how racialized poverty and class are in this country. Don’t mention white supremacy. Keep your ghetto shit to yourself.”
“Over time I became very aware that people had a lot invested in you choosing sides. You had to choose one or the other but not both, not neither. Complexity was out of the question. Multiple loyalties were another way of saying betrayal. I eventually realized that these bipolar choices were not only ridiculous, they would also require me to jettison the essence of who I am. My multiplicity, my complexity, my simultaneity.”
-Junot Diaz. Read the Rumpus interview in it’s entirety here
. Photo taken in New Orleans, LA 2008.