Today’s Culture with Travel post is by Luke Doyle
Tourists can sometimes have a pretty bad reputation for imposing their home routine on the exotic places they visit – but real travelers leave their regular schedules at home and take the opportunity to experience the lifestyle of their hosts!
That’s what a real trip is about. Discovering and respecting the way that other people live. In the best moments, you may even discover traditions and routines that would improve your own home culture.
This extraordinary new visual guide to the daily routines of 11 traditional cultures is a great way to decide which tradition to sample next!
1. Altiplano (Bolivia)
Bolivia is known for a landscape drawn from mountains, desert, and rainforests. A pastoralist in Bolivia is someone who tends the llama and alpaca herds that make these terrains their home.
Find work with pastoralists, and you’ll find yourself waking for a breakfast of meat pastries known as salteñas, eating sopa de mani (peanut soup) for lunch, and dining on something like pork and corn in the evening. It’s a hard day’s work walking around in the sun, so you’ll be pleased to know Bolivians follow the noble practice of the afternoon siesta!
2. Assam (India)
This Northeastern Indian region harbors a tea-picking culture that works hard but knows how to rest. You’ll cycle to work, pick leaves all day, eat curry for lunch and dinner, and chill with a Bollywood flick in the evening. You’ll sleep in the warm air on an open rug – and it won’t be any problem since you’ll be exhausted from your physical labors.
3. Eyasi (Tanzania)
The Hadza are a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Eastern Africa, who are used to receiving visitors and welcoming them to their lifestyle. You’ll dine mostly on foraged tubers, baobab, and berries, with bird meat added when the hunt goes well. Hadza people sleep less than westerners and nap rarely – but you can grab a few hours on a mat in a temporary shelter in the warmth of the African air.
4. Himalayas (Nepal)
Only the hardiest of travelers will hold their own among the Sherpas, Nepal’s famous mountain guides who climb all day before a well-earned sleep on a colorful platform bed. If you arrive in festival time, you can also enjoy the entertainment and spiritual enrichment of a cham, or spiritual dance-drama.
5. Kwabre (Ghana)
Ashanti cloth-weavers of west Africa spice up their days with a lunch of jollof rice and a dinner of something like fufu and goat light soup. The ceremonial outfits and scarves they weave from kente cloth are dazzling to the eye and you’ll find the bustle of the markets stirs your other senses beyond the experience of your local mall!
6. Seoul (South Korea)
Okay, so you’re unlikely to book a ‘high school experience’ on your trip to Seoul, but it’s still a revelation to observe the everyday differences between Korean students and those of the west. Of course, eating Asian food three times a day is a good start, but you’ll also note that hardworking Korean kids tend to supplement their regular education with evening classes at a private ‘Hagwon’ school.
7. Silicon Valley (USA)
Work experience in Silicon Valley is essential if you’re thinking about a career in tech! From coding to networking, it’s a bizarre subculture of American working life that is becoming bigger and bigger all the time. And the workplaces look increasingly like school playgrounds!
8. Siorapaluk (Greenland)
There’s a little more history in the Inuit settlements of northern Greenland. A few days living among the Inuit will get you accustomed to eating dried fish, seal meat, and suaasat (reindeer stew) to insulate you against the snow. And no electric scooters to get you across campus: Inuits travel by dog-pulled sled on the land, and kayak through the icy waters.
9. Venice (Italy)
Talking of water travel, you’ll be familiar of course with the concept of Venice: a city whose streets are canals. The gondolier’s life, then, combines hard work with a languid pace. A season spent working as a gondolier will find you sipping cappuccino in the morning as the day blossoms around you, before rowing tourists and locals from place to place. A light but energetic lunch of squid risotto will give you the strength for an afternoon of working the waterways and charming your passengers.
10. Wadi Rum (Jordan)
Jordan is a west Asian Arab state, and home to nomadic Bedouin peoples including the Wadi Rum. Traditionally, the Bedouin have been goat farmers, but today you might find a Wadi Rum tourist guide to show you the area and culture. You’ll note they eat a spicy labneh yoghurt for breakfast, and hopefully share a galayet bandorah stew for lunch. Travel is by truck, and sleep for these nomads of course means a tent. Poetry and music, in the form of ‘qasidah’, keep the evenings engaging and will fill you with memories to take home.
11. Wanaka, New Zealand
When you’re thinking about a skiing trip, New Zealand might not be the first place to come to mind. But if you’re skilled enough to spend a season teaching skiers, you’ll find few more pleasant places to do so than Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Island. You’ll find yourself surrounded by glaciers, forests, and alpine lakes, mountain biking to stretch some different muscles on your days off, and enjoying a sociable but non-macho pint or two with your colleagues in the bar after a long day on the slopes.
What would your life look like to someone from the opposite side of the world?
Luke Doyle writes for Expedia Canada. Read more on Expedia.ca.