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Today's walkitcornwall quote

"We try to connect the sensations of the body with the paths we cross"- Emmanuel Gault

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The scenery, flowers and birds, coupled with your wealth of knowledge, really made for a super few days. It was so nice spending time taking it all in, without the need to rush to the next destination. The dynamics of the friendly group merely added to the enjoyment. The week went all too quickly so, who knows, I may return for more! Do thank Ceri for the lovely sandwiches and the chickens for the eggs!

- Maureen N, UK.

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My personal philosophy of walking

From Macro to Micro to Macro.

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The only time I can claim to have been prescient is when I saw Boris Becker at 17 years old win Queens just before Wimbledon and I thought this youngster is going to win the main tournament against all the odds and of those in the know. But I never put a bet on him. A treble of reaching the semis, final and then win it outright would have bought me a house for a £30 bet. Gut instinct never acted upon. I'll never claim prescience ever again.

However I've been a Green for many years and there has been a gnawing in my soul about the dilemma of taking people from all over this planet walking as one small business in the global tourism "industry". You see, even with the word Industry a low impact circular walk has the economic connotations of machinery, process, division of labour and pollution. As ever I have few answers but many questions. In the past I've had conversations about my doubts about being an ambassador for various Cornish enterprises and networks as I am still encouraging people to travel around the globe and of course flying myself to do the recce's for my overseas trips adding to the global CO2 emissions. We're all guilty and I'm talking myself out of a job here.

So I took the step just over a year ago of deciding to cut my overseas walks by 75% with trips to Crete and Andalucia already notching up 5 personal trips to arrange them and to also stop Menorca after two wonderful trips with guests. Yet I have kept one, Corfu which is reachable by train and ferries if neccessary. It's a personal choice that has its knock on effect for my "profit margin" Or does it?

I was supposed to have my first guests go to Andalucia this year, in March. Well you know what happened. So I continue to reassess and think carefully about localism and those who come to Cornwall from all around the globe whether on business or pleasure. The discussion needs to be broad and inclusive of those who actively promote tourism. This has yet to happen here in Cornwall but the murmurings are getting louder about the effect on the local quality of life and economy. Is there such a thing as sustainable tourism especially when the word sustainable is losing its original meaning and now seems to mean "sustain it as it has always been", which itself is, well, unsustainable. You see, we also live in a world of smoke and green mirrors of meaning.

But in the end it is us individuals who need to decide whether to fly or not, what we purchase and eat and how we can truly have a low impact on the planet and still live within the planets means. It is difficult and Carbon Offset just doesn't work as the burden will still be on our children and grandchildren. Smoke and mirrors again.

So the partial solution is what I am doing short and longterm if indeed we have that long a term as a species. The schism between individual and the enormous global businesses and juggernaut that is Tourism moves the decision making balance for us as individuals towards the ease with which the global players make it for us to go. Think the massive subsidy of plane fuel that is a left over from just after the 2nd World War to reinvigorate the industry.

My innate feeling is that we have to go through the process ourselves, individually and look from the Macro to the Micro first on all parts and levels of our own lives before we can tackle the big issues we have in the world today from food security to the obvious pandemics to consumption of goods and many other interlinked parts of the global system. Only until we put our own personal house in order and see life from the local and how it fits into the global can we again look at the Macro and see it for not only what it really is but also at global problems that are caused by not living in a localised framework and mindset. Hence the title of this blog.

So what else have I done to move to the Micro? I'm lucky enough to have a garden so I've turned it over from beautiful flowers and non indigenous plants to food. I am noticing that there are many public places that could also be turned into a food-for-locals space. I am noticing Nature on a very local level from the garden insects within my veg beds to the visitors on the bird table. Bee hotels are next, so I'm building my re-understanding of the flora and fauna from an extremely locally observed level. I'm getting to know my local parish footpaths, not the honeypot coastal path walks that have been my staple diet for so many years.

There are truly great views and stories in ones own back yard if one gets ones eyes and other senses in to know where and how to experience and understand the local. Thoreau saw this in his walks and compared the local farmhouse seen from a new angle as more beautiful than a major overseas paradise. I see where he is coming from. I am researching local paths and applying the knowledge to a national level in my PhD which is where the Macro to the Micro to the Macro comes into its own. What works on the local level can be looked at with new eyes to see if it can be applied to the global. But you can't miss out on the time spent, the reconnection, redefining and meaning of what localism means and how it informs decisions made on a local level before one can look at the ease with which we can deliberate and make decisions on a global plain. Too many armchair world experts for my liking and not enough of the same people concerned with local issues.

Am I rambling? Yes and perhaps it needs more fleshing out in the future with more blogs on localism before globalism needing to be written.