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Summary: Alaskan Travelogue


"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." ~ Kenneth Grahame

Except maybe reflecting on it afterwards!

Below are links to each Rolling Rains post on exploring Glacier Bay, Alaska. Starting with:

Cruising in Alaska

A Quote Found on the Gimp Parade

Not only do physically disabled people have experiences which are not available to the able-bodied, they are in a better position to transcend cultural mythologies about the body, because they cannot do things the able-bodied feel they must do in order to be happy, 'normal,' and sane....If disabled people were truly heard, an explosion of knowledge of the human body and psyche would take place.
-- Susan Wendell, author of The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability

Many of the posts here talk about sustainability -- sustainability in economic terms.

Profit is a necesssary, but insufficient, component of sustainability. Any business, but especially one in the service sector, must address issues of meaning and of the value of human beings. Clients -- and workers -- demand nothing less.

Professor of business management James Spillane has prepared a far-ranging overview of the purpose and value of the hospitality industry. In the paper, Spirituality of Work in the Hospitality Industry he writes:

The Stuff of Legend and Universal Design

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Wonderful legends abound on Christendom's Patron of Travelers -- St. Christopher. What interests me is not so much his history but his widespread appeal.

According to the story, Christopher was a man who helped travelers cross a river. The story continues that at one point he carried Christ himself, appearing as a young boy, and was transformed by the experience.

Stripped of pious detail, this is a story that illustrates the new paradigm definition of disability succinctly -- and long before its modern formulation.

Theologies of the Body and of Place

If religious symbol & ritual embody underlying values, and ritual involves the body, that is a place to tease out a spirituality's anthropology and theology of body. Similarly regarding place and sacrality.

Pilgrimage brings all these aspects to bear in one liturgical motion.

Taking it a step further, would it not be instructive to study the practice of those who merchandise religious travel -- services for missionaries, for Hajj pilgrims, for Kumbh Mela, etc. -- for cultural expressions of religious values?

Hospitality is a Benedictine Charism

Writing on the travel, hospitality and Universal Design is not a far reach for someone familiar with the Benedictine monastic wisdom tradition. Monasticism revolves around such universals as a sense of place, embodiment, the proper place of work, community, transformation and, of course, hospitality.

A Dharma Note

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Does the dharma gem, "Participate with joy in the suffering of the world," offer a touchstone for theological reflection on the "New Paradigm" of disability with its dual emphasis - "function" and "participation?" Utne Reader offers a teaser reflection on the phrase from an eco-spirituality perspective but with no reference to disability.

Any reference to "suffering," in the context of disability, reflexively invokes arguments against the "medical model" and stifles dialogue on the topic. To pursue this reflection productively, the term "suffering" must be informed by the defintion of "dukkha" or borrow from concepts such as the Pauline understanding of "participatory suffering."
This excerpt from the Center for Accessible Society overview article on disability definitions illustrates the critique of the medical model:

This site is about seeing. The topic may be travel but the "revolve" is the-seeing-that-transforms.

Not literal sightedness, of course. In fact, I expect active interest by readers using Jaws for Windows or other tools that accommodate visual impairments and make their participation possible.

The seeing I mean here is the seeing of mindfulness.

The discussion will frequently be about business. Specifically, it will be about the business of travel and hospitality. It will look at the economic sustainability of doing busness with the ageing and/or disabled sector of the traveling public. It will look at profit, product development, marketing, competition.

But if this site ever loses grounding in persons - substituting statitistics or truisms for real travelers - then it will have betrayed the author's purpose.

That purpose is pilgrimage.