mardi 15 octobre 2013

Raise your standards regarding travel destinations

As a traveler, not constantly but pretty often on the road, I am much more interested in people than in climates, landscapes or architecture. Don’t get me wrong: everything is worth traveling, but people and their culture (habits, food, mentality) is complex to approach and therefore the most interesting part of a trip. After all, this blog is called “rock and volk”. This is why a post from a friend of mine naturally caught my attention when I browsed my Facebook feeds a couple of days ago. Warning about this interesting study “Like all surveys and studies, this one has flaws. However, it does provide some useful insights. That said, the best way to find out how accurate it is, is to go explore these countries and see for yourself.”
Here’s the link:

This graph is the perfect scientific – it’s based on a survey – confirmation of the insights I began to develop since my trip to Argentina ( This one is an incredibly expensive, sometimes unwelcoming and even unsafe destination compared to other ones. Again, don’t get me wrong, I had a blast there, but I think you can do much better choosing one of the destinations listed above. If you take a better look at this Top 15, you will not only find unusual touristic destinations, like Montenegro or Macedonia, but also common ones: Thailand or Morocco for example. I just wanted to talk about these two ones for I planned to pick them as my next destinations. I’d like to go to Thailand for its amazing beaches and…cheap accommodation, sure, BUT also for its Volk. What I meant here is: you don’t necessarily need to go off the beaten tourist path to find good attitudes of locals towards foreigners. Moroccans are said to be the most generous people ever…well…I’ve heard that 100 times...But I’m French. So, considering our special relationship with Morocco and the high number of French of Moroccan origin, I assume I am not objective. But still, just look at the graph. Anyway, you don’t have to, but I recommend any “real” traveler – interested in culture, (lovely bilingual) people - to go off the touristic beaten path and to fly to MACEDONIA. This picture was taken on a Sunday night in Skopje.

Now let’s have a look at the bottom 5. Hum, no big surprise regarding some of them. As a woman, I am not really dreaming of a trip to Iran or Pakistan anyway. Denmark: checked. I used to deal with Danish customers in my previous job and had the opportunity to learn about their pretty conservative mentality, like no euro, high-level border control…Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivia, Russia, Nigeria: I don’t know about people’s attitude towards foreigners, but I have some idea about the feeling/reality of safety in these countries.

But WAIT! My own country in the bottom 15! I am friendly, speak fluently English, I always help lost tourists finding their way in our capital, and Paris is the city of lights, the capital of fashion, romance and the most touristic destination in the world. Ok, ok…I was playing the surprised innocent girl. Paris is dirty, full of rude people and pickpockets. No…not like in any big cities, much more! How many times did I hear “ohh they hate talking in English. They told me we were in France and supposed to speak French when I asked for some information”? I stopped counting and always prefer to keep my annoyance inside. To me, these things are clichés about French people and I feel like slapping every foreigner telling that to me, but still I take their reports seriously. No matter how confusing the paradox may sound, this is how I feel. If you understand some French, please read this hilarious article from the French equivalent of “The Onion”. Then you know we are aware of how unwelcoming Paris definitely is.

Secondly, I’m in love with Italy, especially because of their food and (similar) beautiful language. No, not even because of the architecture or landscapes. I loved them but beauty of cities and nature can be found anywhere! But hey, Italy is still on that Bottom 5. What I mean by these two examples is that people know they won’t meet a great majority of friendly locals; they run a higher risk to get stolen or ripped off, but still. Paris is the first touristic destination since ages, and Italy remains incredibly popular amongst tourists. Why? In my opinion, there’s always a little voice in many people’s heads saying “you HAVE to go there”. This typical sheep-like attitude is perfectly normal, but please don’t complain! You knew it all about safety, friendliness and money. Once again, beauty is everywhere; don’t take it as an excuse. You picked your destinations because of that little bitchy voice, the same that sometimes tells you to buy the new IPhone.  

Oh, one last thing: did I say "go to Macedonia" ?


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