Does daily work or continuous school work depress you? Does your inner wanderlust voice tell you that you’re ready for a travel vacation? However, this year you want a different travel goal, not your typical vacation, designed around personal pleasure and leisure. This year you also have the desire to get involved with a worthy cause, challenge the status quo of the power elite and make the world a better place to live. Well, if traveling AND social activism are your interests, I have the 2012 travel advice solutions that will please both your travel and social activist wishes.
1. My first recommended travel destination for 2012 is Chantilly, Virginia, USA, site of this year’s Bilderberg Annual Meeting from May 31 to June 3. Chantilly, Virginia, at the Westfield Marriot Hotel, hosted the 2008 Bilderberg meeting.
Chantilly, Virginia is very close to Washington, DC; The nation’s capital offers a unique historical and cultural experience, as well as a great place to express dissent! Luckily too, for the budget-minded traveler, Chantilly has a youth hostel just outside of the Washington, DC area. Why not make your reservations now and enjoy the beautiful Virginia countryside and the cultural activities of Washington, DC while also expressing your displeasure to a passing banker, politician, or CEO? Their opinions and discussions can plant the initial seed by activating a pang of consciousness that will eventually lead to less damaging world politics. If you find that open protests on the sidewalks are less successful, I may suggest an alternative, stealthy approach: position yourself as a well-dressed hotel customer in the lobby where the Bilderberg members are staying. Act like an unassuming gadfly, listening in on the conversations of the Bilderberg meeting attendees.
Of course, such an intimate access can be difficult; however, for the determined and energetic social activist, challenge enhances the adventure and success sweetens the reward.
Are you ready for summer outdoor fun, a freelance journalist’s dream, and a proud sense of moral accomplishment? That is what I experienced when I planned my fall 2000 European vacation to coincide with the scheduled IMF / World Bank meeting in Prague. A well-organized anti-globalization protest was waiting for the bank assistants, similar to the successful protest against the WTO in Seattle, November 1999, which I attended. I wanted to continue to be a part of this proud movement.
I am sure that in the youth hostel in Washington, DC and in the city, you will meet like-minded spirits who also know about this Bilderberg gathering event (citizens of the world and various NGO members). As you had experienced during the Seattle ’99 and Prague 2000 protests, you will form lasting friendships with these fellow travelers / activists.
2. To kick off your summer season, I recommend planning a visit to Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico for the annual G-20 meeting, June 18-19. You will have fun mixing the fun of summer outdoors with social activism. Cabo San Lucas offers diving, fishing, nightlife, and much more. Even though the wealthy elite will stay in expensive resorts, there are ample options for budget accommodation in Los Cabos, including youth hostels. You can even pitch your tent near the beach!
3. To kick off the fall season, I recommend a trip to Switzerland for the WTO public forum meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, September 24-26. A good central location for nearby skiing, autumn-colored hikes, and sipping a piping hot cappuccino by a roaring fireplace while listening to the insidious scheme of some powerful banker.
4. Continuing your travels for the fall season, I highly recommend visiting Tokyo, Japan, for the IMF / World Bank meeting, October 12-14. Enjoy social activism during the day and Tokyo’s bustling exotic nightlife at night.
For budget accommodation, Los Cabos, Geneva and Tokyo all have several hostels in and around the city.
Lastly, for those planning to travel around California, I recommend an outdoor excursion north of San Francisco. In addition to the wonderful vineyards, inspiring redwoods and spectacular coastline, there is also an elite haven for power brokers called the Bohemian Grove, located in the redwoods near the town of Guerneville and the Russian River.
The retreat, of course, has security (as I found out many years ago), so an undercover role as a naive hiker is a good start. As you look through the redwoods, you may find an influential politician or CEO performing a hedonistic, decadent ritual in a yellow chiffon dress! Don’t forget to bring your camera!
I hope you find these travel tips helpful for your future 2012 travel plans. You might even come across yours for real, the author. Happy travels!