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Gary_Yngve

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Hampi, a junket? Have you been there?

If someone paid for me to travel across the world for a few weeks and the only contingency was I had to pose for a few pics and climb some boulders, I'd consider it a junket. Minimal work for a paid vacation. Not that I wouldn't snap at the chance, I just don't think it's admirable or noteworthy.

 

I like wfinley's analogy.

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Well, let's assume for a moment that a potential traveler doesn't have access to a healthier model of transmitting knowledge and ideas across cultural boundaries than slumming. Would you rather she stay home?

 

Here's a better analogy: Joe Middleclass and his pals wants a cultural experience so he grabs his crash pad and drives daddy's 2005 Pathfinder down to the projects. He then proceeds to rip it up on manky apartment buildings while his buddies document the adventure while making sure that every frame features at least one barefoot African American kid or teenage mother. They then give high fives all around, jump back in the Pathfinder and return to the suburbs with a story to share with all. How is this 'transmitting knowledge and ideas across cultural boundaries'?

 

Couldn't have said it better myself!

 

thumbs_up.gif

 

Of course, the knowledge being transmitted is that Joe Middleclass and his brahs are jackasses.

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CJ: You don't find vacation and India in the same sentence very often. And it's not like he was going to get big publicity for climbing a Himalayan peak.

 

You seem to think that people should pass some litmus test of motivation, presumably of your design, before they're allowed to enter another culture. Then we'd have a nice bunch of accredited travelers cruising the world and saying "Namaste" whenever they meet, or whatever you would have them say?

 

People have rough edges. The more they get out, the more likelier they are to become aware of those edges. If the only knowledge transmitted is that Joe and his buds are jackasses, it probably isn't a one-way transmission. And that's not a bad thing.

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I think most people who travel learn something about other places, and about themselves, whether they set out to or not. Even prototypical Ugly Americans.

True.

 

Travel to other countries and cultures is the best means by which an individual's scope and understanding of this world is broadened. There are enough objective obstacles to this without foisting personal subjective criteria.

 

Go. See the world. Often, as horizons expand by footfall, a corresponding expansion is experienced in the mind and heart.

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Perhaps at one time this was true and not trite - but most travellers (across the income spectrum) seem of the bunjy jump variety now. Plunge into the culture for a second, then yank yourself back to safety and security. Glorified cruiselines. This applies (somewhat) to myself as well. Sure it can open eyes and people can learn if they wish to do so. In my recent experience most people don't really want to (from all cultures), but they are free to do whatever they'd like, as am I. Dechristo - you write that schtick for LonelyPlanet?

 

kiwi - perhaps to you it's not common to hear india and vacation together - but tourism is booming and I can safely safe there are hordes at peak season. Few of them are American though. I rode a train that was close to 50% westerners - they seemed to enjoy it as a vacation, as did I. It's pretty common for people from Sharma's hometown, Santa Cruz, CA to head to India - when I bought my guidebook they'd sold already sold 15 copys that Spring of the LP India.

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Yeah, I know. People can treat Bali as Disneyland. And it's sad that Kuta-Bali is the way it is. There are many more arguments to be made on both sides. The Crusades weren't great for many of the Crusaded and so on. Still, I think cross-pollination is, at the end of the day, a good thing. I understand that you don't and I understand why you don't.

 

You're right about India. My statement was specific to the states. But then, we were talking about Chris Sharma, not Leo Houlding. Who, at the risk of weakening my thesis, has also been to Hampi.

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In essence it's the same arguements hashed and rehashed regarding globalization. In Alaska there are communities that have made a concerted effort to disallow cruise-ships docking in their towns - and towns that allow it typically are split 50/50 regarding community support. For every business owner selling trinkets and welcoming tourist, there is a local fisherman who wishes they'd all go home.

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Perhaps at one time this was true and not trite - but most travellers (across the income spectrum) seem of the bunjy jump variety now. Plunge into the culture for a second, then yank yourself back to safety and security.
Yep, people have tight schedules dictated usually by their jobs and it is the schedule, not fear, that normally determines duration of stay.

 

Sure it can open eyes and people can learn if they wish to do so. In my recent experience most people don't really want to (from all cultures)...
Whether a person wishes to learn bears little on the experience of life; the school of hard knocks has few graduates. Perhaps the difference in our views is in my assessment of the overall benefit derived from personal exposure to differing cultures versus your view that seems to focus on the limits of human compassion and understanding. If a person remains sequestered culturally, they will remain myopic. Only by exposure to foreign elements, no matter "their wish to learn", will there be opportunity to see farther.

 

Dechristo - you write that schtick for LonelyPlanet?
Right now, that's an apt description of my world, but I trust I'll weather the funk and be back to waiting by the phone for a call from Hallmark. Edited by Dechristo

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Perhaps at one time this was true and not trite - but most travellers (across the income spectrum) seem of the bunjy jump variety now. Plunge into the culture for a second, then yank yourself back to safety and security. Glorified cruiselines.

 

I think you need to divide that up between people who travel but live in the foreign country and actual vacationers. I know a lot of foreigners who LIVE here, as do I. But then of course last summer 300,000 tourists came here.

 

Just make sure you differentiate.

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