As you should know by now, I want to see the world. It’s not so much about the number of passport stamps that I get (although it’s a small perk) as it is about the vast & various landscapes that I get to see, the foods that I get to eat & drink, the cultures that I get to experience, and the potential connections that occur as a result. But as an avid reader, especially on the internet, I read & observe the good and bad news about people, places and things.
After recently reading about some disturbing news in France, in addition to other news from the country, I’m very ambivalent about going there. And I don’t think that I’d ever continue my expatriate life there either.
I feel the same about South Africa: it’s a country that I’ve always wanted to visit, but I’m quite ambivalent about visiting there also after hearing about the rape culture (especially used to fuel homophobia) and its president’s dismissal of his own rape charges & beliefs about HIV/AIDS. Those are just 2 of many reasons why I also don’t think that I’d ever continue my expatriate life there either.
I also have a few concerns about Russia, which experienced/is experiencing racial violence by neo-Nazi & ultra-nationalist groups. And had I known about Australia’s racist history before visiting there, I don’t think that I’d spend my money (going) there. I’ve considered continuing my expatriate life there also, but I’m not sure if that’s in my best interests as a person of color, along with knowing what I know about the country’s history now (White Australia policy; Aborigine assimilation – Wikipedia edition; etc.).
You might be saying to yourself, “But you’re from the United States. You shouldn’t skip visiting a country, especially because of where you’re from.” You might be correct. But I didn’t ask to be born, and I didn’t have a choice about where I was born. I made the choice to leave the United States for good over a year ago, for many reasons, and I can also choose not to visit or live in certain countries for some of the same reasons why I left the United States. Then again, the United Kingdom doesn’t have the most pristine history either…
So what about you? Are there countries that you’re ambivalent about living in or visiting for ethical or moral reasons? Are there countries that you outright refuse to live in or visit for ethical reasons? Or will you live/visit wherever you want, ethical or moral issues be damned? Please discuss.
I receive lots of travel e-newsletters & have many blogs in my reader. They inspire me to travel the world (or at least imagine doing it), help me refrain from moving back home, and give me ideas about things to do in my neck of the woods. One of the e-newsletters that I receive is Time Out, a great resource worldwide for things to do in some major cities across the planet. Prior to the riots, I received my usual Time Out e-newsletter and a free walking tour caught my eye. A few words stuck out:
Those words, to me, meant that this was a different way to see the area – not your typical (double-decker) bus tour with a bunch of annoying loud American (or insert other country here) tourists and a tour guide holding a megaphone while reciting the typical boring basic (insert any city here) facts. Most importantly, this is free. In a world where the rich get richer and the rest of us get poorer every day, anything free is a godsend. And finally, I like learning about places on an intimate level. I appreciate the good, bad & ugly about places: history, culture, architecture, art, future urban planning, and quirky facts that most others aren’t interested in and/or won’t know.
So I looked at the website listed in the e-newsletter and contacted the person (or people) who run the tours. After a few snafus that were out of my control, I finally got a chance to take the tour. Luckily for me (and you), the tour occurs year-round.
I’m glad to say that I enjoyed myself and wrote a TripAdvisor review about it. Check it out in the link above, as well as a few of the many pictures that I took during the tour below.
If you want a down-to-earth, unpretentious, interesting & (maybe) fun way to explore just one area of this large metropolis, take this tour and my word for it. Enjoy.