Culture, Trips and Extremism

For the next two weeks posts may be somewhat erratic as I will be doing some traveling. This week I will visit Barcelona where I am the keynote speaker at a conference. I shall have my work to do as not only am I giving the keynote on Wednesday but will also present again the following day. However, I have been to Barcelona once before and as I recall it is a magnificent city so it should be a nice trip. The following week, I am going to Budapest where I am giving a two-day workshop and then attending a big conference. It’s all go.

I like to travel – less so perhaps now than when I was younger but it is a bonus to get to visit other places as part of your job. While the EU can be criticized for a lot of things, it has made traveling around an extended Europe much easier than it used to be and in some parts of Europe, passports are no longer required. Very civilized I would say.

One thing though that has become noticeable to me over the last 25-years is the erosion of culture. When I first visited Paris, finding a french restaurant was easy. They were on every street corner! These days, its the KFC or MacDonalds thats on the street corner and finding a genuine french restaurant in between the pizzerias and pasta places, is pretty tough. To me that’s a huge loss. Unfortunately, its the same almost everywhere. Fast food and brands in favour of local culture and great food.

So, as I head out on my trips this next two weeks, I will be avoiding the fast food places and seeking out some local flavours – both in terms of food and everything else. Local is good. We should celebrate our differences, our languages and our culture. We should work to preserve and protect them.

The other side of this coin though is ugly. Its nationalism. The recent EU elections showed the soft underbelly of this obscenity in all its ugliness. The National Front, Greek Nazis, The UKIP and all flavours of this horrendous evil that should have been caged for good at the end of WWII were out on display. It seems that people often want not just their own culture but they don’t want anyone else to have a different culture. Yes, celebrate our differences, celebrate culture .. not just your own but others too.


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