WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL STYLE?
TUESDAY, 19 MARCH 2013
Today a tourist was pulling my leg a little bit and asked me if the tables were turned, would I actually agree to be interviewed by a random person that came up to me in the airport? In most cases, I think I would, but of course my current job has a lot of influence on that answer! But, it made me really think about how I would answer the questions that I ask in my survey. Some of them are difficult and require thoughtful consideration, so my hat goes off to the 300-some tourists who have been so kind as to entertain my probing questions during their precious holiday time! And who are able to produce such coherent and insightful responses in a short time!
So here are my answers to some of the actual questions that I ask tourists in Greenland every single day. If any followers out there feel so inclined, I would be happy to hear your answers, as well!
What destinations are on your dream list of places to travel, and why?
I have seen SO little of the world, and even of my own country, that the short and easy answer is: everywhere!
It is easiest to first pinpoint what I am NOT attracted to. I am not interested in overly modern and industrialized destinations, so traveling in Europe is not a priority for me. Of course, it would be better than simply staying at home, but I would much prefer to see other parts of the world first.
Some may mistake me for a “nature person”. It is true – I do love being outdoors, going on hikes, being on the water, and so on. But what I really like is nature-based culture – human societies that have historically lived off the land, and preferably still do! I joke that I think I was born about 10,000 years too late… that I would have been perfect for the hunter-gatherer era! I am also very interested in linguistics and the evolution of languages due to interaction between different societies. I can thank Dr. Lise Dobrin at the University of Virginia Anthropology Department for that!
So now having thought through that, I have come to the conclusion that my dream list is more a list of cultures that I want to experience than a list of places I want to see. I dream of traveling for the purpose of experiencing human societies that have maintained a life that is very in tune with the environment and to some extent, isolated from the modern world. I think most people would consider these cultures as “primitive”. I debate the political correctness of that term and also the reality of it. Yes, there are still foraging or nomadic societies, but the mere fact that we know about them indicates that they have been touched by modernity to some extent.
So, in no particular order, I would like to experience any societies in the Amazon Rainforest, but particularly the Huaorani in Ecuador; I would like to experience the Sami in northern Finland, Norway, and Sweden; the Maori in New Zealand; the residents of Tangier Island; and the residents in the Canary Islands that use a whistle language. I would also generally like to see Central America, South America, Southeast Asia, and more of the Arctic.
On holiday, do you typically seek to experience the nature, the culture, a combination of both, or something else entirely?
On holiday, do you prefer to observe the destination, interact with it, or immerse yourself in it?
I think what realistically happens is that I interact with a destination. But what I would ideally like to happen is that I immerse myself in it. In all actuality, I would like to do a mini-ethnography when I travel!
How many international holidays do you take in a typical year?
< 1 per year
Do you typically use a travel agent to make arrangements?
Are you typically attracted to packaged itineraries?
No. But I will say that if I were traveling to Asia, specifically China, I would be extremely likely to purchase a packaged itinerary because it is my (ignorant) impression that that is just how tourism is done there. For instance, all the Living Social travel deals to China are 10-14 day fully planned trips. They never advertise deals for just a piece of a holiday to China like most other destinations on Living Social.
On a scale of 1-5, how important are the following aspects of holiday travel to you?
1 = Not Important At All
5 = Extremely Important
Spending Time With Family: 1
Connectivity of Destination (Internet Access): 2
Climate of Destination: 1
Learning Something New: 5
Doing New Activities: 3
Good Environmental/Social Practices (Sustainability): 4