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Illuminating the New Year: The International Year of Light 2015

Illuminating the New Year: The International Year of Light 2015

By Lincoln McElwee

Still deciding on a last-minute New Year’s resolution? Maybe you just want a more tangible goal under your belt? A marker in the not-to-distant-future that will not only be fun and rewarding to move towards, but one that also involves commitment, compassion and travel? If this sounds like what you are looking for, why not resolve to make 2015 a year of light? That’s right: a remarkable year of light!


The year 2015 has been designated by both UNESCO and the United Nations as The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. Throughout the year, festivities and activities which honor the forward thinkers and scientists who paved the road for both light and optical technologies in our daily lives (Albert Einstein) will take place globally.

In essence, it is a year of education, which is why 2015 is a perfect year to combine this education with travel, making a current and historic memory bank for not only you, but for your child as well.

Though the focus on the International Year of Light is primarily to disseminate the purpose and importance of light-based technologies around the globe through education and training, showing its impact and possible scope in the sectors of agriculture, energy, health, and education, The Year of Light can (and should) also play a vital role in reflecting on the purpose and importance of light-based technologies in the travel industry as well.

From computer screens, mainframes and hard drives that book travel flights and spit out tickets and ticket receipts, to the mechanics behind in–flight entertainment and the physics of air travel, from the latest and greatest technology at our fingertips in hotel rooms and resorts, to even the food we eat, how its prepared, and where we might need to go for medical emergencies while abroad, light and light-based technology has a firm hold in the travel industry and in our lives as travelers and parents as well.

To this end, The International Year of Light is not only a wonderful moment in time to spend with your family in appreciation of our global footprint and the vital need for sustainable development not only nationally but internationally as well, it is also a time to start thinking about ways to incorporate The Year of Light into our travel plans.

In keeping with the importance of sustainable development, why not plan a family trip to visit one of the endangered world wonders? The Great Barrier Reef, for instance, has been said to be eroding and at a far greater risk from global warming than previously thought. The Great Wall of China is slowly crumbling, only about one-third of it left for tourists to view. Even the Taj Mahal seems to be losing its luster, with treatments enacted on its closed days to give this Wonder of the World a much-needed facelift. There has even been speculation about the fading Taj Mahal closing its doors altogether and…recently…the possibility of it crumbling due to poor infrastructure.

thegreatbarrierreef            tajmahal

In any case, by visiting one of the world wonders, you have the chance of ensuring that your children not only read about these places, that they don’t simply recognize these “hot spots” as some passing fact or travel fad from a history book, but that they have a connection to these global environments by having visited these remarkable, yet fated, destinations.

You can even have fun with the idea of light and base a travel experience around this concept alone. Traveling to see the Northern Lights, for instance, would be one way. Or perhaps you might want to consider what it means to travel light? To some, this might mean booking an all-inclusive vacation package, staying at a resort where everything is at your fingertips and you want for nothing. For others, traveling light could mean backpacking or camping out under the stars with your family, staying at a camping site or RV park, traveling without all of the creature comforts that many of us have become used to when traveling.

Regardless of how you choose to travel in 2015, be sure to make it a wonderful year of prosperity and insight. Be sure to make it a wonderful year of light!


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