Saturday, November 23, 2013

I am not a tourist

When did excessive picture taking, excessive map navigating and 
en masses tour groups become the norm for global travellers? 
I mean no wonder the locals don't fancy tourists so much. 
When did we stop being explorers? In this case, it is neither just traveller nor just locals that are responsible; it's both. 

Let's begin with our travellers. Yes, I know you think that tipping over the Leaning Tower of Pisa or kissing the Sphinx would be funny, but just. don't. do. it. please. Then, I really get the exorbitant holiday photography, but would you want to think back in 5 years time and remember your entire trip through the lens of your Nikon? No, I know I most certainly do not want that, which is why I make a concise effort when going on holiday to pack away the camera for lengths of time, though in reach just in case. If we become too caught up in the documenting of our travel, we lose the essence of the place and times that we are experiencing. When I'm on holiday somewhere, whether it be a national or international destination, I am always in a state of awe and inquisitiveness to rub eyeballs with the local culture, activities and being. However, all this talk of authentic experiences doesn't mean that I'm not going to gawk in front of the Taj Mahal or the Kremlin, but it also doesn't mean that I don't want to lap up the beauty of Barcelona in its ornate existence or go for a ten day hike through the Papua New Guinean jungles. I want the full deal, local and just a bit less local. 

Oh, native dwellers of all global countries, would you please stop treating explorers like tourists. I'm sorry I don't speak your language, my French is a bit rusty, or rather non-existent, but could you give me the courtesy as a fellow human being and converse with me bit, share with me the loveliness of your home land and enhance my experience just that bit more. Personally, when I travel I am very interested in meeting new weird and wonderful people and I am not going to share the name of your Nonna's restaurant with my entire country. I did not bring them with me, as unfortunately they just wouldn't fit into my suitcase. Also, I am a citizen of the world. I may not have your dark complexion, your red hair, your bean-stalk height, but I am a part of this earth, be it in Holland, Yemen or Chile. But, I must acknowledge those who are kind, friendly and warm (the majority I will say). I thank you graciously.