Authentic travel is both illusionary and created out of our own travel perceptions


The Myth of Authentic Travel.


We like to think that we have the knowledge to sort through the chaff, and pick out the gems that represents authentic travel. Reality is somewhat different, and while we try to exclude the places where the tourists are, to walk down the road less travelled, and to position ourselves amongst peoples whose lives have not changed much over time, we are merely fooling ourselves. David Sze (2015) in his article “The Myth of Authentic Travel” for the Huffington Post provides compelling augments against the delusional and limiting view of museumifying a people or their country. Doing so merely stamps our perceptions of authenticity over others. In his article Sze concludes :

Let's throw the box away. Appreciate all the diverse sides of the country without having to claim that any part is better. Let go of the preconceptions of the culture we might have internalized from guidebooks and mass media. Don't label. If we spot a "foreign" or "commodified" practice, instead of calling that experience "inauthentic," let's try to be more nuanced. Attempt to understand how this practice came to be. How it interacts with existing practices and people. How it might have been, or will be, changed, assimilated or rejected. Embrace messiness. 


Article References


Sze D. (2015). The Myth of Authentic Travel.
Huffington Post.

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