Well this reading was a little terrifying. Am I a ‘mindful traveler’ or am I a ‘mass tourist’? What about a ‘carefree drifter’? I want to be a ‘mindful traveler’ right? Right?
Slimbach discusses what types of people tourists are. I assumed that there was only one type of tourist – the ‘mass tourist’. You know, the one who goes to the main tourist attractions and spends most of his or her own time on social media. Example: Instagram. However, I was wrong. It turns out that the ‘mindful traveler’ and a ‘mass tourist’ are completely different things. So where do I fall in between the two? I would say that I am a mix of the two of them…maybe leaning towards one depending on where I am.
For instance, I would say that I am a ‘mindful traveler’ when I am at home in Barcelona. Though it was not always this way. I began as a ‘mass tourist’. I took as many photos as I could. From a random apartment building to a guy playing the accordion on the street. There’s photos of everything. I snapchatted, tweeted, Facebooked, you name it. I didn’t eat at Spanish restaurants 100% of the time. I remember the second night I got Italian food with my roommates. It was a little daunting the first time going to a Spanish café/restaurant. I didn’t really know how to order or what to order. Tapas? What were those?!
As I started to settle in and get in the swing of things I slowly transitioned from a ‘mass tourist to a ‘mindful traveler’.
Slimbach said something in this chapter that really hit home. He said:
“Given enough time, intentionality and program support, we may eventually become “accepted outsiders,” even in places where regular tourists are rarely seen. Neighbors come to admire, not only our eagerness to adopt native ways without demanding modern amenities, but also our willingness to speak, however haltingly, in the local language” (Slimbach 1653).
This could not speak more to me. I don’t know much Spanish – or any Catalan for that matter. I am taking beginner Spanish though as a class. It helps a little. At first when I tried to speak Spanish to people around my area I thought I was making a fool out of myself. After reading this chapter I don’t think I have. It has been over a month now and I think I am beginning to become an accepted outsider. The store and café owners can tell that I am trying to adopt to their ways instead of making them to adopt to mine. If I were to a mass tourist I 1: would not go to a local café, and 2: would not try to speak the native language as much as possible. I think Slimbach really hits the nail on the coffin there with that quote.
I chose this picture for several reasons. This picture was taken in Milan in the Ferrari store. The Ferrari racing team and overall brand is something I have taken a deep interest to since I can remember. To see an actual Formula 1 car in person was really cool and something I did not expect. I went to take a picture, but it said no pictures. To achieve this picture, I had to stealthy look out for employees and wait for the right opportunity. This process took longer than I would like to admit. To get to the point, I used this picture because it shows me getting out of the way to do something so little for satisfaction. The mindful traveler will go out of his or her own way to immerse him or herself to into another one’s culture – even the little things. Once doing so, they will feel more content with themselves and become more of a accepted outsider.