Really. What Were We Thinking?

Thailand has been a special part of the gap year journey. Enjoying the tropical beach areas south of the country with some of my family members has been extra special.

I was seeking a visionary look into the future. So before we all departed, I asked my young granddaughter what she would like to be when she’s old, like Poppa. Not sure I should take it as a compliment or not, but a super hero was her response.

It’s always an interesting question what the next fifty/ sixty years would be like? On social attitudes, one of my favourite questions, is the what were we thinking question. In fifty years, what will be the what were we thinking issue we think is now normal.

Looking back, one of the most embarrassing of them all, Australia’s then white Australia Policy. Attitudes to mental health. I was having a beer with a backpacker recently as he talked about how mental health issues like the depression he was managing, can now be more openly discussed. Gay relationships. At least we have progressed as a society to be more open and accepting. And while a large part of the world has already moved on, I wonder whether Australia’s current requirement to vote on gay marriage will be another one of those what were we thinking issues.

And then there’s the impact of technology. It’s mind boggling to think that in the space of around a mere ten years our communication with each other has so drastically changed. No matter what corner of the globe, no matter how poor, there’s a smart phone in hand. Expect Maslows Hierarchy of Basic Needs to be soon updated to be air, food, drink iphone, shelter, etc….

I was discussing the impact of social media with a manager of one of Thailand’s island resorts. In days past all his bookings came through travel agencies. Now its social media booking sites. He said the impact is dramatic. Bad reviews will impact his booking within days. And vice versa. But that’s only been the last five years. What will sixty years time bring? In this small Thai coffee shop, I was blown away when my mugshot, via an app was instantly printed on my coffee. I expect in the future an app won’t even be required.

We’re being warned artificial Intelligence is set to displace many current jobs. I speculated this issue with a young Thai founder of a new tourism venture. Losing that Thai service with a smile just wouldn’t be the same though.

The world has unquestionably become so much smaller. The ease and convenience of communicating with the likes of that smart phone is only helping to further shrink the globe. The extent of travel by young backpackers, their confidence, is to be applauded and encouraged… along with the need for more senior backpackers! Outback Jack back in Costa Rica, summed it up well. The more we travel and connect with people of other nations, in particular for young people, the more we will understand that no matter where we are from, we are all much the same. In doing so we can also discover that what our governments want us to believe and have had us believe, may in fact not necessarily be in all our best interests after all. Wars are a typical example.

Meanwhile as a case in point, we muse at a couple of our global clowns spruiking at each other as to who’s got the biggest nuke.

I wonder if instead of our world leaders goading one another into war, we actually had a common cause. Like clean up our global home. Such as the ridiculous growing amount of unnecessary waste we are generating. Plastic waste. So much so you now see pallets of plastic drink bottles stacked outside shops because there’s not enough room inside the supermarket. All destined to be eventually washed up onto some otherwise pristine beach.

So instead of banging the war drums, could it be possible to unite together to fight our common threat. One that we have all created. So we can leave our global home in just a bit better state for our next generations… and the new senior gap year backpackers!

But then again, instead of the antics of our current global leaders, maybe we really do need super heroes to pull it off.  Even if it does mean it will be another one of those what were we thinking issues.

Meanwhile it’s on with the backpack. Thank you Thailand for the special family times.

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4 comments On Really. What Were We Thinking?

  • A super hero. Well, you’ve made a big impact!
    Sounds like a lot of reflecting going on in Thailand. So fabulous to see Nicole and family. Enjoy your next location.
    We are missing you. When does this gap year finish?

    • I think someone stole some months from me Louise as it seems I’ve less than one month left! Look forward to hopefully catching up soon.

  • Chris, someone told me once ‘if you don’t travel business class your kids will’. I think you’ve just given me another one. ‘If you don’t have a senior gap year your kids will’. I hope you inspire others to do what you’ve done.

    • There’s no question David, us baby boomers need to unite and take on this young generation of gap year backpackers. We’re missing out on all the fun!

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