“All this requires a philosophical and ethical framework for travellers, as well as an understanding of the landscape not as something that we visit but as something we want to engage with.
For me, the importance of LoST can partly be found in the ways we engage with the landscape, and partly it’s about why we as travellers do this.
First, LoST travellers engage with the landscape, its people and its activities because landscapes/waterscapes aren’t devoid of communities and people. When we engage with landscapes in their entirety, we get the opportunity to learn more about what has shaped them. A slow means of travel – walking, cycling for example – gives space for those interactions and those relationships. We aim to become, for however long and in whatever way, part of that landscape.
But there’s more to it than this. The slow movement gives us the opportunity to contribute locally – to the local economy, to local food production, to local markets or whatever else. We engage and we help to sustain.
The second point though, is focused on us, the outsider, the traveller. One of the important things that can come out of the LoST experience for travellers is their awareness and understanding – of the landscapes, of the ways people have engaged with and shaped them. Understanding this more fully allows us to develop much deeper appreciation and understanding of landscape sustainability in all its complexities, but, importantly, it develops within us the capacity to be critically reflexive – to understand ways in which we can continue to contribute to landscape sustainability, not just in the landscapes we visit, but, through our increased awareness, in landscapes we don’t.
All this requires a philosophical and ethical framework for travellers, as well as an understanding of the landscape not as something that we visit but as something we want to engage with. The difference between visiting and engaging is where our ethical and philosophical framework (and reflexivity) comes into play, including knowing how to contribute locally.
This is important in that through the act of travelling slowly, we engage in different ways with the journey and the landscapes or urban-scapes which inhabit it. Both are inter-connected.
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