This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

May-June 2020

Talking travel, staying home

Our May/June editor's letter

Tara-Michelle Ziniuk


Months ago, before 2020 started, when we set out to come up with themes for the year, we could never have expected how the coming stretch of time would unfold. Travel, at the time, seemed like a theme that could affect just about anyone: people who had access to it, people who did not (and the barriers involved with that). We were thinking about how travel interacted with various identities. We were thinking about the environmental impacts of it. We were thinking about how economics intersected with travel. We put out a call for submissions outlining these ideas and more, and the response was overwhelming. By and large people who knew the magazine understood what we were getting at—the ethics of travel, and how the ethics of travel impact us all.

I am writing this from my living room. I am sitting at my (yellow, vintage, corner) desk—one I was fortunate enough to find on the curb years ago. My daughter is playing video games behind me (or baking bread and sewing her own clothes—if you’d prefer to imagine me a successful homeschooler). Canadians abroad have been ordered to return home. Borders have been closed to non-essential travel. Worries are flying about migrant farm workers, domestic workers, and asylum seekers, amongst others, as we deal with unprecedented uncertainty. We are also seeing posts about reduced air pollution, the crumbling of corporate airlines, and so on. Many of us are wondering what long-term impacts these changes will have, for better and worse.

In this issue Nicole Beier dives deep into the impact Airbnb is having on neighbourhoods—it’s not a good one, and some are left feeling like their cities are for sale. Sara King-Abadi brings us to the Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and gives us a first-hand look at experiencing the effects of climate change there. Things get personal as melannie monoceros walks us through the realities of travelling with chronic illness. Barâa Arar finds herself split between two homes and two countries and examines privilege and guilt through that lens.

In all honesty, it’s hard to know what to write here because it’s hard to know what will have changed between this writing and when the magazine hits (mostly virtual) stands. But we send this one out into the world as a reminder of yesterday, and a hope for tomorrow—knowing that the moment we’re in is a temporary one, and the world, however changed it will be, will continue on after it.

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