And now for something completely…normal

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Sunset on the Ottawa River. Canada is pretty too 🙂

I have been back home in Canada now for 3 weeks and I have struggled with what to do with this blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed the creative writing aspect of it and have loved engaging with other bloggers and readers from around the world, and I think I have benefited hugely from having the opportunity to share and reflect on all of the moral and social complexities that I engaged with over the course of my time in South Africa. But how do I justify maintaining a travel blog from my couch (okay, Sam’s couch)? Do I still get to call myself Mis Tourist? How to gauge the potential interest of future audiences in reading about my exciting adventures reading Derrida in the windowless basement of the campus library?

*Sigh.* 2016-2017 is going to be awesome (insert sarcastic tone here).

On the plus side, I have had a lovely few weeks reconnecting with friends and family in Guelph, Georgian Bay, Rideau Ferry, and the Ottawa Valley.

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Adorable neffies on Georgian Bay

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Full moon in Rideau Ferry

I have been back to ‘reality’ this week (although I still haven’t summoned the strength to make it into the office), and I have been working on my presentation for next week’s Critical Tourism Studies conference in Huntsville. My presentation topic is on what I have learned through my practice of keeping a blog as part of my reflexive practice in my dissertation research.

What have I learned?

I confess I don’t know, which is why I’m writing this posting rather than putting together a really mind-blowing presentation at the moment.

I had three defined objectives at the outset of keeping this blog. They were:

  1. As a practice of critical self-reflexivity;
  2. As a site of meditation and reflection, and;
  3. As a site to trouble and grapple with dominant discourses of “Third World,” “ethical,” “reality,” and “responsible” tourism in the Majority World.

I must admit I’m not sure I accomplished any of that, although I have felt that the practice of writing for an audience and anticipating feedback has been supportive to my own well-being. I do feel very grateful for all of the wonderful feedback that I have gotten over the past several months, in terms of other people sharing their experiences and feelings on the issues that I have been attempting to understand.

I think my problem is that it is hard for me to express in presentation (read: impressive academic) form just what keeping this blog has meant to me, and what I have learned along the way. My intention was to create a forum where people could engage in dialogue and trouble their own uncertainties related to tourism and poverty and the places where they intersect. I hope I have done so, and I hope that I can continue to do so from sunny downtown Guelph.

I should get back to it (although I am also contemplating going for a run on the treadmill – this is how bad my procrastination angst has gotten), but thanks for letting me ramble on a bit. I do hope to keep having stories to post, especially as I start getting back into my data and reflecting on what it all means. I still have hundreds of photos to go through too, and I look forward to sharing those as well and hearing what you think.

And, in case you were wondering, 10 year-olds make the best welcome home surprises 😉IMG_4641

Oh, and before I go, my last photograph of South Africa before I headed off to the airport. I’ll be back!IMG_4633

7 thoughts on “And now for something completely…normal

  1. Welcome back, Meghan.

    Blogs have a tendency to evolve over time. You think it’s going to be one thing and before you know it, it’s taken off in a completely different direction. That’s ok.

    For each of us, our blogs serve a particular need we have. It may be to share our work, our thoughts, our worries, vent our frustrations, connect with like-minded people, and a whole host of other things. That’s ok, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meghan, your aunt is right. 😉
      I’ve also fount out that blogging helps me organize my thoughts, remember the key points that I should go back later, document my life…
      You are a wonderful writer. You have educated/entertained/informed me, that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also hope to read on, as your thoughts unfold.
    Life happens, and your blog can move with you.

    We’ve just had 3 weeks away from our quiet suburban life – in London, Frankfurt and Zurich.
    There – the issues around terrorism and refugees, Here a municipal election that went off peacefully!

    Like

    • Thank you so much Diana, I hope that I will find a way to carry it forward as week.

      I have to say, that I feel as though I share in your experience in a way. The day that my flight landed in Toronto another black man was shot by police in the US, 5 police officers were shot in Dallas, and there was an attack on a train in Germany. I felt as though all I wanted was to get on a plane and head right back to SA! And I was so pleased with the results of the elections 😀

      Like

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