Travel Log 6 “The Mindful Traveler”, Kait Shortell; Paris, France

The difference between a ‘mindful traveler’, ‘carefree drifter’, and ‘mass tourist’ from what I understand, is simple at first glance, but challenging in the midst of being in the actual presence of this trifecta. The ‘mass tourist’ I think is the one to which we all fall victim most easily. In this mindset, we tend to see the “cliché” side of a culture, which I think is important to an extent. A lot of tourist attractions have a very important history behind them, and I think that going and taking the time to learn about that countries history, and how it affected them and so forth is a good place to start becoming a ‘mindful’ traveler. It could give insight into some characteristics of that culture today. The ‘mindful’ traveler is described well by Slimbach. To describe the opposite of a mindful traveler he wrote, “…they can speak and write about what they learned about and did for the locals rather than with them.” (74). To be a mindful traveler, I personally feel that you should be able to write and speak about all of those point of views, as well as what the locals did for you. Being a mindful traveler includes so much more then just site seeing, you have to reach out to locals. I think talking to them and taking the time to learn about the lifestyle they live through their own stories will teach us more than what we could read from a traveler’s book. Eventually, if we are outgoing enough and talk to as many people as we can, we will be able to start piecing together a picture of that country’s economy, their healthcare, and their home life. I think it is also important to do things with the locals, take part in cultural activities with them to submerge yourself in it. For example, I spend a lot of time with my home-stay mom’s son. His name is Adrian and he is a great source of Parisian knowledge. We have talked a lot about healthcare, and how it affects the public, social classes and how they interact, and what Parisians value, as well as how and why they live the lifestyle that they do. These conversations are rich in culture and I look forward to them immensely. While we talk, Adrian has taken me for a bike ride down the Seine on Sunday morning when the city closes the road that runs along it for its population to enjoy, we have ventured to a hole in the wall building called the “Aftersquat” where artists can rent a space for up to six months at a time, and use it as their studio. They will cover the entire building from floor to ceiling in paintings. It is incredibleIMG_2123, and still is one of my favorite places of all I have seen so far. He even invited me to see the Calvary horses perform with him and his son one day, which was so interesting. All of these adventures are ones I don’t think I would have known to do on my own. With the help of a Paris native, I am getting to experience a very authentic Paris lifestyle. A ‘carefree’ drifter is someone who I feel goes to a country, with no knowledge of where they are going, or what there is to see, etc. I think, that every traveler should spend a small amount of time “drifting”. Sometimes, this idea of drifting leads you to discover a new place in a very ‘unplanned’ way, if you are lucky, but it does not always work out that way. As far as our definition of a “global community,” I am not sure yet where I stand. I feel like I would definitely make a few changes, or maybe word things differently, but I am not sure how just yet. I do think ‘mindful traveling’ is a key part of intentional participants; just simply because of the way it presents, and frames the experience. It puts the time you spend in your host culture, into a different perspective, that you can welcome open-mindedly.

The picture I chose is of Adrian and I in front of the AfterSquat. I thought it would be good to incorporate a picture of the Parisian I have been learning so much from, and in front of one of the places he has shown me. Our conversations have been so helpful, and I have learned so much. Interestingly enough, Adrian is actually moving his family to the western Untied States with in the year, so as much as he has told me about Paris, I have been able to help him with learning about the States.

 

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One thought on “Travel Log 6 “The Mindful Traveler”, Kait Shortell; Paris, France

  1. Kait, I liked that you mentioned that a lot of tourist attractions have history behind them. I feel the same way. I think that tourist attractions are popular for a reason, and so it is okay to go see them, but we also have to know why we are going to see them instead of just going because everyone else is. Also, it seems like Adrian is an awesome resource to have…I’m kind of jealous!

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