I’m hoping everyone’s week is off to a good start. While I know I skipped For The Weekenders last week, it’ll run as usual this week…but for this episodic musing I’d like to throw some thoughts your way on something directly related to it – travel.
Let’s get started.
Musings Episode 77: Travel…
This time around I’ve really decided to start focusing on travelling abroad more though. Reason being is because I think with the sheer amount of craziness that’s been erupting in politics – xenophobia in particular – that people need to be doing a lot more of this than they currently are.
But a lot more of it with an open mind.
Every time I travel, there’s a certain trend I notice at least once during the trip.
There’s always someone else who is also travelling, but is a complete ass to the people of the country they’re travelling to.
I say this not to rant, but because there’s a certain characteristic that, like I said earlier, each individual that acts like this is missing: an open mind.
When you travel with an open mind, you get to fully experience the culture. You get to taste, feel, breathe, and drink it. It goes beyond hotels and fancy restaurants, gift shops and clothing stores.
Which brings us to the point that there are two types of travellers – the tourist, and the culture enthusiast.
You might want to consider checking if you’re the latter, because you can learn a lot more when you travel if you are.
One’s open minded, one’s not.
What do I mean by open minded though?
Well I find the way most people travel to be rather…boring. Typical. Being a tourists usually goes like this…
You get on a plane. You check into a hotel. You stick to the touristy areas. You buy shit you don’t need. You buy more shit you don’t need. Both of which can actually be purchased at any touristy area in several countries.
You eat at the restaurants that cater to tourist the most.
You make a half assed effort at speaking the language but still really, really prefer English.
You hop on a tour bus.
You hop off a tour bus.
You stick to a guided tour.
Then there’s the culture enthusiast.
You get on a plane. Sure, you check into a hotel but you do a little research, find something that not every tourist and their grandma knows about.
You explore local areas. You spend your money renting a car and checking out more areas.
You look for good restaurants off the beaten path.
You get a relatively decent grasp of the language, enough to at least be mildly conversational, and discourage using English unless absolutely necessary.
You find out what the locals like to do for fun.
You do what the locals do for fun.
You meet a few cool locals while doing what the locals like to do for fun.
You learn new things.
You avoid guided tours and tour buses like the plague.
What’s the difference between the two?
I like to think of the tourist as someone who observes from the outside – like watching a fish through a glass bowl.
Yeah, they’re in a country, they sleep, eat, and spend money in it, but rarely do they ever actually touch the culture. Rarely do they ever relate, or even find something or someone to relate to.
While the culture enthusiast actually feels the culture.
They may not end up befriending everyone in the city or area, but they take a little bit of something away while leaving something behind, in the abstract sense.
There’s a saying:
Engage with people from another country and you’ll come to better understand them.
When you begin to understand them more you begin to connect with them more.
When you begin to connect with them more, you begin to relate to them more.
And when you begin to relate to them more, all those walls, all those mental barriers that people put up, that politicians put up, that the media puts up…will slowly start to come down.
Travelling is more than just a good holiday.
It’s a chance to learn something.
A chance to connect with something outside of your comfort zone.
A chance to connect with people you might never get to connect with in your own space.
And when people start connecting with other people in a positive way, well some pretty epic, pretty significant changes to things, and the way you think, can happen.
Look out for Quote Wednesdays this week.
And as always…
Improve Your Lifestyle. Improve Yourself. This is Life. This is Rego’s Life.™