By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Griffith Review 37: Small World
Edited by Julianne Schultz (Text Publishing, $27.95, softcover, 260 pages)
Some interesting facts and figures—particularly about Australians—come to light in this book, along with the way we now travel, which give credence to that well-worn saying: “what a small world”.
On rough calculations, one in every 10 human beings on the planet visited another country in 2011—a jump of about a third since 2000 when 673 million crossed their borders to get an invigorating breath of fresh air, gain new viewpoints and encounters and deal with some challenges.
Australians are at the frontline of this movement because “affluence has made them more mobile than ever”. In 1990, Australians made just two million overseas trips, but two decades on the number is closer to seven million.
In 2011, a third of the population travelled abroad—well over 600,000 each month— joining almost a billion tourists in the air, on the road, on board ships and trains.
After all we are a nation of immigrants, tourists and expats, so Australians feel comfortable in a global village.
Investigating international travel trends, Small World not only considers how social media, international banking, planes and television has changed our sense of the world, but also studies how we explore dangerous, wild or weird places and travel by engaging not as passive tourists.
A distinctive picture gallery is among the ‘postcards and intelligence from everywhere’.
Included is an extract from Murray Bail’s forthcoming novel The Voyage; Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler re-examines some of the most troubled regions in the world; Kate Veitch investigates the changing relationship with travel and photography; and Mark Dapin informs on the perils of travelling as a journalist.
The question still remains: whether travelling has fostered a sense of wellbeing, cosmopolitanism and openness.
Edition 333, 2 October 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.