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Monday, July 5, 2010

An Authentic Experience

I have always loved traveling to new places & seeing what life in other countries is like. While traveling, I have tried to look for the "authenticity" of a place - to experience the real people & go to the local hangouts. I don't want to be conned by the tourist facade that so many destinations present to travelers. I want to dig deeper. (It seems many other travelers agree with me.)

I have now spent a year or so living outside of the US. What better way to experience the real deal, right? No beach resorts, no tourist traps. Just me & the locals. Dig deep, I say!

However, I'm starting to understand that underneath the tourist lacquer, local life is pretty much the same no matter where you go. People all over the world go to work every day, buy their groceries on their way home, watch TV to relax, or maybe meet friends for drinks on the weekends. In essence, they spend their lives in the pursuit of happiness, just like I do.

When you're a tourist, exciting things happen one after the other. Paragliding, swimming with sharks, & sipping on a maitai while getting a massage could all happen in the same day. But when you're off the tourist track, these things are as likely to happen as they are at home, which is to say that they're not likely to happen at all.

Turns out that the "authentic" experience isn't all that thrilling, really, though it is quite interesting. Daily life happens at a much more subtle pace. Amazing things do happen - the key is to have the patience to wait for them.

1 comment:

Sunny said...

Great observation!