Class of 2017
Fanny Packs and Bucket Hats
After a lazy morning filled with a nice breakfast and a few rounds of euchre, the group split up to enjoy their final day in Cusco.
While some visited the Temple of Sun, and others toured the coffee museum, I, along with Tess, Alex, Charlie, and Emily, wandered the streets of the city. We stopped in the different markets, bartered with the locals, and enjoyed some street empanadas.
During our adventure, we came across quite a sight. Unable to be missed, a large group of about twenty people packed the sidewalk, their neon yellow shirts reflecting in the bright sunlight. With their flashy cameras, bucket hats, and fanny packs, they looked intimidated by the big city. They glanced around, trying to take in every possible sight. Considering we’ve been staying in the heart of Cusco for close to two weeks, we couldn’t help but laugh as the newcomers figured their way around. A few cheeky remarks we made about their stereotypical tourist appearances, led me to a question, one I didn’t realize was left without an answer:
Why do we look down upon the stereotypical tourist?
“Why do we look down upon the stereotypical tourist?”
Now, I know we can come up with some quick responses to that question, like, “They tend to be ignorant,” and “They don’t truly immerse themselves in the culture they’re surrounded by,”. While those may be true, we should think deeper into the question; when we travel, we are trying to enjoy the new environment we are in, so is there a “right” way to do that? For example, I can enjoy my new environment by volunteering my time at Ninos del Sol, but someone else can enjoy Peru as they take city tours and visit Machu Picchu.
This question quickly boils down to a matter of opinion, without one direct answer, but one answer is not what I’m looking for. I’m asking to open a discussion about how we view others when they travel, because they immerse themselves and experience their new environment differently than you, does it automatically make it wrong?
The next two weeks will offer an intermittent set of reflections from our students and chaperones as we encounter Peru. Find and follow us here and at #InteractinPeru.
Want to follow our Peru Blog during the trip? Follow for the latest posts!