Chalk With S: A Different Kind Of Souvenir

What matters to you? What matters to other people?

I am in Diani, Kenya at the moment, thinking of all the things I brought here with me. When I travel, I take a lot more with me than just the stuff in my suitcase. Ideas about the place I am going to, what I imagine life to be there, and many other thoughts. I’m sure this is true for you, too. This weekend, we suggested three things to consider while wandering and wondering. Today, I am thinking of another preconception to ask yourself about: what issues or concerns matter?

Thinking of different souvenirs by the beach Diani, Kenya

Thinking of different souvenirs by the beach
Diani, Kenya

I think we all have a sense of things that matter, in terms of social justice, human rights, animal rights, and so on. This is something you can take with you on your travels, as you encounter new places. You may be surprised by how the attention given to some issues varies, in comparison to where you come from. While it is important to note this, and make suggestions, I do not think limiting it to one-way flow of ideas is a good idea. It is also crucial to consider the issues that the people who live there are concerned about. What can we learn from these?

For example, whenever I am in Kenya, I think more about animal rights issues than I do anywhere else. This offers me some fresh perspective, and points to things I should thing about in other places, too. I can then go back to India and Canada (my other homes at the moment), and think about these issues are being addressed there. It’s something I can take back with me and keep; a different kind of souvenir 🙂

 

Three Things To Wonder About

What new ideas have you found in new places?

Going someplace new can mean new ideas and perceptions. When we plan a trip somewhere, we put together an image of what the place is. This could involve stereotypes and generalisations about culture, for example.

We would like to suggest three things to think and ask yourself about:

  1. Consider your existing perceptions and expectations of a new place. How do you imagine the people to be, live, interact with you? How do you expect the place to function, its infrastructure to be, what you will find there
  2. When you get there, look to see how much the reality differs.  To what extent were you right? Gaining a new, in-person understanding of a place is a great learning experience. 
  3. Look for diversity within the new place, not just in comparison to your point of reference. Try to go beyond the too general image of the place, and instead look for how lives within it differ from one another. Areas within the place are different. There is complexity and diversity to be found, which a single, general image cannot represent.
Look beyond the image you had in mind - so many colours to be found!

Look beyond the image you had in mind – so many colours to be found!

There are many more things to consider, and we are sure you have a few ideas of your own to share with us. What do you think we should look for or think about when going to a new place?

Wander and Wonder With Us

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As we approach CWM’s half-year mark, we have decided to spend the next few weeks dedicated to the theme of ‘Wander and Wonder’. Over December, we are both going to be travelling to different places, and thinking of chalktivism as we do. We hope to see first hand how chalktivism through Chalk With Me can reach different parts of the world.

We invite you to join us on our exploration, and follow our posts as we each take CWM with us on our holiday travels.

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