As I work on my thesis I am finding that I am drawn towards travel and tourism via the internet. How people gather information about an upcoming trip; whose stories do we read and whose do we believe; is there a community to be found on websites such as Matador, Gadling, and Offexploring, how is the community shaped and what influence does it have on the industry; what about those people who quit their lives to travel and experience, what kind of people are they and why do they do what they do; why do they recount their travels through blogs and websites? All questions I have, not all of them I can answer it is only a thesis remember, not a lifetime of work....not yet....
In taking a Sociology class in Media and Consumer Culture with Dr. Sonia Bookman my ideas have been opened in the ways in which we communicate through objects and symbols, the ideas we perpetuate in our consumptive practices, and the theories that surround the identification of self with a group. Incredibly interesting course, kick-your-mind-in-the-brain-until-it-hurts readings, and a amazing weekly discussions, I want to take pieces of this course into my thesis research.
I gravitate to the library and find the following book: Blog Theory by Jodi Dean. Having now consumed the inside words I am amazed at how much I did not understand, how I will have to read it again, and wonder who might this critical look at communicative capitalism within the sphere of blogs influence how we look at travel, tourism, our expectations, experiences, and shared stories of far-away lands. I also found a new mantra:
Speaks to my heart. Always question. Always wonder. Do not accept that you hear, see, think and feel at face value. Dig deeper. Demand more information and explanation. Think it through. Work it out.
Choosing to go back to school, taking inspiring classes, heading to the library every week, and extending my learning from books to the online world has lead to changes. Change is good.