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Around the World Travel – Domain of the Wealthy?

If you've been on the backpacker trail for a short time, such as while visiting a single country, or even just been perusing travel blogs online, you may have picked up on a common answer to the question “Where are you from?” The most frequent answers in my experience have been:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada (w/maple leaf flag to prove it)
  • United States
  • Israel (after required military service)
  • Japan
  • Western European countries (Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, etc.)

I once read about how Buddhism tends to take root in countries and societies after they reach a certain level of success – both culturally and economically (which once included Tibet). This seems both odd, and completely understandable. Affluent societies naturally value the concepts and things which bring them wealth, yet at the same time, a counter-culture develops which values non-materialism. The growing Buddhist movement in the United States is a prime example.

I'd like to think I've traveled a good bit so far, though I've yet to meet a backpacker from India, a country with 1/6 the world's population. My memory is a bit foggier on any Chinese backpackers I've met, though they certainly didn't make my list above. So on my upcoming trip, while I intend to visit both India and China, I have little expectation I will cross paths with many backpackers from either country.

Perhaps I'm wrong though. Maybe things are different in southeast Asia? Maybe Costa Rica is an uncommon destination for African backpackers? It's quite possible, as China's economic boom continues, the backpacker trail will see an influx of new world travelers. I for one, welcome greater participation by citizens of other countries in traveling the world. I truly believe it helps different cultures understand one and other better. And let's face it, the list of countries above is a homogeneous lot, a reason many of us choose to travel to far lands in the first place.

Which nationalities (not mentioned above) have you come across on the backpacker trail?

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:


Wednesday 2nd of May 2007

I've met a few Western Europeans including the UK and Irleland,etc and quite a few Japanese who have been very nice especially compared to their Chinese Tourists from across the pond.


Tuesday 1st of May 2007

Backpacking around-the-world myself, I see a similar trend, which actually has been on my mind a bit. In traveling through China and talking with a few folks about my own trip, I've been told a number of times "you are so western/american" When I ask what that means, I have been told that extended around-the-world travel is not necessarily not done by Chinese people, but it just isn't in the culture to do something like that (where in America, and more so the UK, Australia, New Zealand, it is more likely). Their life with an affinity for family, their desire to work, their desire to build wealth, and (I suspect) in a country that is now only opening up to the outside world in many ways," does lead to a less adventure-travel oriented group of people. On the other hand in Hong Kong (a culture quite different from mainland China), its just not practical to travel for an extended amount of time, as the culture greatly emphasizes making money and working, while their obligations to their parents keep them working instead of traveling, despite their dreams to do so. Oh and also, the UK/North America/Kiwi/Aussie predominance has to in some ways do with their English as a first language thing.


Tuesday 1st of May 2007

Andy -

Thanks for sharing your observations. You note some very interesting cultural differences which I forgot to take into account.

On a different note, your idea about featuring travelers you run across in mini blog profiles is brilliant! I just hope I can remember to do the same (if you don't mind) while abroad.

I signed up for your RSS feed so I can catch up on your trip.


Monday 30th of April 2007

One that sticks in my mind is the Irish (Southern Ireland). For such a low populous there seems to be quite a high percentage that go off on travels. And its always good to see. Cheers, Nath


Monday 30th of April 2007

One that sticks in my mind is the Irish (Southern Ireland). For such a low populous there seems to be quite a high percentage that go off on travels. And its always good to see. Cheers, Nath

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