Our author criticizes the travel guides, mainly ‘Lonely Planet’ for being out of touch:
‘THERE IS AN almost Orientalist presumption that the citizens of places like Cuba or Afghanistan have made a choice in rejecting globalization and consumerism. From the perspective of the disaffected Westerner, poverty is seen as enviable, a pure existence unsullied by capitalism. ‘
Well, most people travel to take a risk, and for new experiences, and to broaden their horizons and understanding and learn about other cultures. Our author finishes with:
‘So go to Cuba. Try to get that visa to North Korea. Visit the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Just make sure to throw your Lonely Planet and Rough Guides in the trash before you do.’
Of course, be careful and be street-smart, too, and good luck getting to North Korea. Apparently, the folks over at Lonely Planet are still hitting the hippie trail, looking to romanticize the ‘noble savage’ or go searching for the pristine tribe and/or life-affirming anthropological/new age experience away from the industrial, capitalist, soulless, over-individualized West.
As for me, just give me some good tips and as many facts as possible. I’ll sift through the rest.
*Michael Totten has a new book Where The West Ends, and it’s good reading about his travels to Iraq (Kurdistan) via Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, and to the Ukraine and Georgia. Not places you would normally go.
**Or at least read some Paul Theroux
Related On This Site: Repost-Roger Sandall At The American Interest: ‘Tribal Realism’…Romantic primitivism in Australia: ….Roger Sandall At The New Criterion Via The A & L Daily: ‘Aboriginal Sin’
Did Jared Diamond get attacked for not being romantic enough…or just for potential hubris?: Was he acting as a journalist in Papua New-Guinea?: From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit…
Some truth and courage in the face of barbarism, but mostly a lot of sentiment, a naive understanding of politics and diplomacy, and dramatic romanticization of Africa: Kony 2012.