Drunkenly, or perhaps not drunkenly, but certainly angrily, a mixed Australian man and a white American woman debate at 3am in a hallway of a Chicago hostel about privilege, travel, classism, and all, stumbling through conversation that likely happens in many similar locations throughout the world, where generally progressive young adults with better than average access to capital weave their way through whiteness and supremacy and white guilt and middle and upper class guilt and luxury.
To travel the world is to fly - to fly is to pummel the earth with pollution in ways that do incalculable damage. But to travel the world is to also, perhaps, learn to view other cultures, beliefs, people, as human, to shatter nationalist or clan-based ideology. Or perhaps, at its most rudimentary, to enjoy life.
Later this year I will fly to Asia an embark on a multinational journey. I will stay in hostels among people my age, populated by Americas, Europeans, and Asians who all fall into the incredibly enviable position of living a safe life, a comfortable life, and a relatively wealthy one. It is often that one wonders if this is truly the greatest application of the capital on hand that we all have access to; but when you're sitting as a group, swapping stories over drinks and laughing and smiling, it seems as if it is possible to overthink something. Be good, try to learn, do the right thing, and ultimately, have fun. All the social awareness in the world doesn't do you much good if you spend your days miserable.