Greetings Fellow VTers! My name is Leah, a native Californian studying tourism & anthropology. What an interesting combination considering one field promotes travel to far off places while the latter studies the people and places being visited.
I used to be gun-ho anthropology when I first got my B.A., especially when it came to conserving & preserving local cultures, however, I have grown to appreciate multiple perspectives on the subject now that I am in a graduate program, even participating in some debates within the VT forums. There is no doubt that travel changes a person, all I hope is that it changes people for the good.
There are some common themes within the forums that I usually address. I have a very particular perspective which I hope you can respect as I will have an open mind to your opinions as well.
1. I am anti-inclusive resort when community establishments are not fairly given business.
2. I am pro-environment & community based development (not top-down organization).
3. Exploitation of humans without fair competition or pay is bad.
4. No golf courses or cruises
5. Buildings should reflect local environment, not whitewashed boxes.
6. Visitors should respect local customs and cultures.
7. Not everyplace is like America
8. Not everyone is in such a rush
9. Inter-personal relations is the only way to learn about other people
10. Don't assume anything
11. You can leave your cell phone at home
12. I am anti-SUV or anything more than a compact car
13. I worm compost
14. People spend too much & have less free time because of it
15. Travel opens your horizons
So why you might ask can I claim such perspectives? Well, as I travel on my educational path, having a degree in Cultural Anthropology and pursuing a Masters degree in International Tourism is a start. I have also conducted field research in Malta and am currently researching topics of interest for my thesis. One topic for fun is the importance of native collaboration in museum exhibits, using the Smithsonian's new Museum of the American Indian as my prime example.
So anyways, as you travel along, I wish you happy & safe travels. May you learn a lot from this great world of ours.