This edition is dedicated to travel and sustainability, both major regular B Beyond magazine themes.
Our special guest interviewees are Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan, a royal champion of sustainability and Mark Shand, a conservationist of considerable pedigree.
We profile Linda Cruse’s Be The Change trips to remote communities. We have a section on sustainable luxury travel for readers who prefer their social conscience to be laced with a little self-indulgence.
Our travel team made, once again, the traditional summer trip from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean as we mused on the disparity in lifestyle on the old continent, common currency and EEC membership notwithstanding.
This disparity between North and South could, in fact, be defined by people’s relationship with their screen.
The North exists in a perpetual state of digital semi-isolation, consuming news, reviews and general information, engaging in romantic relationships and conducting business almost exclusively via computer, i-pad or mobile device.
The South, on the other hand, lives the summer outdoors. Whether you are in an ultra-polished yacht haven or in a small Provençal town, digital devices play just a basic functional role.
Lovers woo one another in real time.
Drinkers indulge socially.
Diners frequent restaurants for the food and are busy enjoying it rather than tweeting about it.
The main Promenade, a thing of the past in the North, is very much alive in the South and still the great leveler it always has been. There, the young and the not so young, the rich and the merely salaried, the tourists and the locals alike all create and partake in the atmosphere – the intangible that draws crowds to this place or that.
Facebook, one feels, is relegated to its rightful place of a social yellow pages; emails are written and answered when time allows. When girths are expansive, it is because of the love of food, rather than for sitting in front of a computer.
Complexions are healthier. Above all, Conversation is alive and well. Gone are the feverish texting and tweeting, the nervous reach for the I-phone, lest one has missed the latest email.
This editor spent two entire weeks computer less this summer. The brand new Toshiba Ultrabook that I had taken on my trip broke down on the second day.
Having fired off two incandescent letters to the shop that sold it to me and to Toshiba itself, I settled, philosophically and with growing alacrity, into a lifestyle that I had forgotten, and it suddenly hit me: I had shaken off the invisible but allpowerful chains of the INTERNET.
I was free to live again. Until the next editor’s letter, at least.