BURTON FAMILY - WORLDWIDE TRIPS travel blog


When the letters page in the Daily Telegraph prints a letter referencing Nietzsche (3/2/17), perhaps it's time to get a bit philosophical, or perhaps it's my age but I wonder whether after fifty+ years of foreign travel, it's time to pass on the baton. I don't mean just that a younger and fitter generation is ready willing and able to step into our pioneering shoes. It's a bit more complicated than that. It came to me when recently we we were a small group of westerners surrounded 100 to 1 by south Asians at breakfast, and for the first time I realised how it must have felt in the past when a lonely couple of Chinese found themselves overwhelmed by farangs in a western-dominated hotel. But the travel world is changing rapidly and not unexpectedly, especially in Asia as the combined populations of South Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Russia and now India are beginning to dwarf numbers from Western Europe.

It is not just a question of numbers either but of cultural differences. Awareness of personal space and respect for others are not the same as western values; Asians seem to be unaware as they dismount from tour bused as 6am that there may still be people asleep nearby, nor that blocking the path of alms-collecting monks for a photo forcing them into the road is not respectful, but the world will need to recognise this is the way it will probably be as the European and American travelling era is superseded by up and coming nations' turn.

To be fair, German towels are not being replaced by Japanese towels on sun loungers (sun bathing is not their bag) but it is getting very difficult to contemplate a work of art in a gallery without a barrage of mobiles blocking one's sight. Perhaps the travel world will end up two camps: one considered unsafe and therefore relatively uncrowded,and the other safe(r) but overcrowded. I guess we should count ourselves lucky to have witnessed the wonders of Venice, Dubrovnik or Cuzco, all now under severe strain from increasing numbers of visitors and follow Voltaire's advice and cultivate one's garden. Wait a minute, what about the Pitcairn Islands or Tristan da Cuhna? Perhaps I'll give it another year.



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