One thing that has disturbed me the most – on my travel journeys – is a group of travelers’ fixation for their monoculture. While travel has its unique meaning for each of us, it definitely goes beyond creating a pseudo world on our journeys. Importantly, there are travelers who would refuse to experience the local culture !
There are two aspects to this phenomenon. One, the demand side – travelers – with their fixation for refusing to come out of their yolk. Two, on the supply side – the journeys – which give these opportunities to these travelers.
Well, before most of you jump on any conclusion, let me clear some air here. As a strict vegetarian, I’m pretty choosy about what and where to eat while I travel. Yet, that has never hindered my jest for feeling the local culture. Long point short – if we understand our limitations, travel is even more fun. Precisely, that is the whole point I want to make. The perils of the mono-culture stems when we refuse to accept our limitations as travelers.
Now, coming back to the demand and supply aspects. There is a section of travelers who propagate this myth that If you can afford to create your culture at the cost of the local experience, then do it ! They travel with the guides from their country, eat the food they have been eating all through their life and refuse to intermingle (read look down upon) with their local counterparts. Unfortunately, some locals would also help in substantiating this myth. There were instances when I faced eerie silence from the Information bureaus about the unique experiences in their regions. While they would certainly be aware about the location of a nearby KFC and McDonalds, they would be cagey to share about elements of their culture that is distinct. I’ve seen Bollywood placards on top of the Swiss mountains, local restaurants serving on a Chinese menu in Spain, or for that reason – authentic American burgers in India.
There are perils of this monoculture. One, it kills the local travel experience for many of us at the cost of a few influencers/dominators. Two, it reinstates the feeling of the compromise for the local artisans, their history and their culture !
If we just come out of our comfort zone, then there are umpteen local experiences. Be it vegan foods, public transport that operates on a different system but worthy nevertheless ! Art that is unique and that is what attributes to its beauty !
So next time when we all travel, let us respect the local ecosystem and its sustenance. There are limitations when we travel but hey that is for sure outweighed with the joy of travel and discoveries en-route.
Travel for Soul, Simply Travel.