Life Class Mark Vernon on Travel

The Evening Standard (London, England), January 28, 2011 | Go to article overview
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Life Class Mark Vernon on Travel


The Bulgarian philosopher Tzvetan Todorov drew up a list of voyaging types. Which are you? The assimilator: the person who looks for similarities between their own culture and the one they're visiting. They're delighted by the billboard featuring David Beckham in sub-Saharan Africa because it eases the stark differences between the poverty there and the wealth here. They like nothing better than finding an Irish pub in Bangkok. Or they are like the American who comes to Europe to say how awful the US is, or the European who goes to America and says the same.

The profiteer: those who travel to a place and wonder how they can exploit it. They will have the best of reasons. This is such a beautiful place, they reflect walking through the jungles of Indonesia, more tourists should come here. Perhaps I could set up a little touring business? Theirs is the mercantile mind; Christopher Columbus is their guiding light. The pure tourist: individuals who travel to places for the sheer experience of it. They land amidst all the history of southern Turkey and are really only interested in lying in the sun. Alternatively, they tend to sign up for package tours and only leave the air-conditioned coach to take a better photo of the view, to impress the folks back home.

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