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.
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:
- As a practice of critical self-reflexivity;
- As a site of meditation and reflection, and;
- 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 😉
Oh, and before I go, my last photograph of South Africa before I headed off to the airport. I’ll be back!