Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Respecting the Place

The 'mainstream' traveler visits places to fulfill their bucket lists.  Others get lucky to find a good airfare deal at the right time when their credit cards are not yet maxed out.  However, there are those lovers of adventures who just can't get enough of cultures and peoples.  They hop from one place to another simply to look for the right mix and the right blend of thrills.  To which category you belong to is not my topic here.

I would like to talk about respect of the place.  Of course, there are those social norms that you can't do without especially if the laws of the place demand it.  When the show of flesh is frowned upon, I hide behind my shawls and my loose clothes to play it safe.

Another point that tugged my mind is on the issue to splurge and how much?  When the exchange rate is too low, one gets the 'false' notion of being a millionaire. When poverty reeks to the point of shock, how much tip do we give to service providers?  What about gifts?

What about the norms to observe in visiting houses and villages?  Normally, I go visit these places only when am ready and is genuinely interested in meeting others.  I need to be fully present, breathe into the newness of the place and culture and to be sensitive to what they want to show.  Being invited to someone's home is an honor.

What about photographs?  I don't click much in my travels.  I am prepared to store memories in the heart.  While we may have our own dream photographs in mind to take, I normally ask permission to take photos.

The best way to ensure 'unobtrusive' travel is to be with a local.  They give you signs when rules can be broken and what norms to truly follow.
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