The Changing Face Of Travelling
If you’ve been travelling at any point in the past couple of decades, you might not have realised just how good you’ve had it. In the olden days, taking a trip across your own country was akin to taking your life in your hands. An international voyage? Well, then, have a nice life and we hope you one day make it back. Travelling was dangerous, expensive, and probably not the thrill that it is today. There were too many illnesses and random acts of crime going around for that. So ‘travelling’ solely for leisure purposes is a recent phenomenon. But just like everything else in this world, it’s changing – and fast.
What People Want
People are always on the lookout for more real, more authentic experiences. In fact, just including the word ‘experiences’ is relatively new – the concept of travelling just for the experience would have been unheard of several decades prior. Whereas certain aspects of “authentic travelling” was reserved for those who couldn’t afford any better, we now have a situation where all people, regardless of bank balance, are voluntary signing up for a more rustic way of travelling. That’s why you’ll see travellers to India throwing away their shoes and donning loose, local clothing. The entire psyche seems to have changed. In the never ending quest to find something more genuine, we’re willing to throw away the personal and cultural traits that make up our personalities and adopt local customs.
A Global World
There’s more people doing everything now. Whatever the field is, there’s probably more people doing it now than at any point in history. It’s the same for travelling. The wealthier countries are exporting thousands upon thousands of would be travellers across the globe. This does come at a cost, though. Take a trip to many of the places that up until 15 years ago were generally considered “off the map” and you’ll find swarms of people, swarms of people trying to sell to tourists, in areas that are decidedly inauthentic; they exist for the tourists. There’s no one to blame for this – it is just the way it is – but it can have a negative impact on communities that have limited resources and tradition that have been pushed aside in pursuit of that all important, lucrative tourist money.
Never Been Easier To Travel
We’re blessed in that there have never been more ways to get from one place to another. And what’s more – what’s great for budget travellers – is that it’s cheap. It was only fifty years ago when flying from one country to another was an expensive operation. Today, with the advancement of low budget airlines, flying from one country to another can be cheaper than travelling to the nearest big city. And in some cases, you fly for free: for free! Though Wired recently asked, ‘are airline rewards miles dead?’, there’s still much to gain from showing loyalty to an airline, making it all the easier – and often offering a timely excuse – to pack the bags and jet off. And once you’ve arrived at your destination, the number of budget coach companies and services like BlaBlaCar means your money goes much further than it used to.
What we do while we’re on the move and exploring new cities and destination has been significantly affected by the use of social media; and, to a lesser degree, the selfie stick. For traveller ‘purists’, Facebook and Instagram have cheapened the travelling experience. Instead of really seeing the area that you’re in, by taking a photograph you’re seeing the potential ‘likes’ you’ll receive on social media platforms – and, more cynically, the envy you’ll inspire and the ‘look at how good my life is’ image you’ll project. While technology can be used for positive reasons, as we’ll see in the next section, the ubiquity of clicking smartphones is something that is oddly saddening when framed with a backdrop of human suffering, for example.
Let’s say you find yourself travelling in the year 1800. You’re safe, and you have enough clean water to make it through your trip. You’re trying to reach your destination, but you’re not quite sure which way you’re supposed to be going. Which way do you go? What do you do? Though there are most definitely places where your modern technology will be of no service to you, in 2017 you’ll basically always be able to reach your destination if you have a device in your pocket and you’re on anything resembling a well trodden tourist path. Also, have you noticed how WiFi is essentially everywhere these days? No doubt about it, the widespread use of technology has been overwhelmingly beneficial to travellers. If you have a kindle or smartphone, you can have your own personal guide to virtually any destination on earth, right in your pocket!
Never Going Home
Travelling isn’t always travelling; sometimes it’s just living. It has never been easier to make travelling your permanent lifestyle. Thanks to, yes, our old friend – the internet! Digital nomads are a real breed of people, who move from country to country because all they need is an internet connection. For everyone else, there’s the old staple: finding work, legally or otherwise, in the destination you most feel comfortable. Of course, you could most always do that, but today it’s more socially acceptable for people to move overseas and take up a new life – because the world is getting smaller with each passing year.
Many of the reasons listed below are newish. They’re established, at least. One area that the travelling is trying to improve is its environmental record. Like it or not, the open minded travellers – who often have a progressive mindset – don’t have a carbon footprint that’s all that healthy. Long haul flights, at present, use up a person’s allocated ‘share’ of natural resources for a year almost instantly. Hotels have also historically been massive energy sappers. That’s beginning to change, though, with technology delivering more efficient ways of travel – so try to give your money to the travel industries doing things right!