“Conversing with strangers was discouraged. If someone asks you to help take a photo of him, watch out: this is a prime opportunity for thieves. I’d been in and out of Europe over the years, but the instructions put it in a new light, and I was oddly reassured to be traveling with three dozen others and a guide. The notes concluded with a piece of Confucius-style advice that framed our trip as a test of character: He who can bear hardship should carry on.” – Evan Osnos.
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This passage by Evan Osnos highlights the perils of modern-day traveling. Travel magazines promote traveling as a hustle-free experience that is characterized by beautiful sites, friendly people, and extreme comfort. The ideal image of a modern-day tourist is also quite different from the reality on the ground. Most travel magazines paint the image of a relaxed tourist whose job is only to ‘enjoy’ the foreign flora and fauna. Nevertheless, travel narratives are more reliable when giving out the truth about modern-day traveling. According to Osnos, his travel experience started with a list of advisories about the dangers of being a tourist in Europe. Europe is considered as one of the most secure destinations in the world. Compared to destinations like India, Africa, and South America, Europe is a secure haven for tourists (Scheyvens 150).
However, Osnos is told to expect thieves, dishonest characters, and harsh administrations during his travel experience. The last line in the travel brochure highlights the hardships of a modern-day tourist through this caption; “He who can bear hardships should carry on” (Osnos 1). Travel narratives can capture the travel experience in a better way than other travel resources such as guides and magazines. The perils of modern-day traveling have contributed to making traveling less fulfilling. For instance, Osnos notes that the travel brochure advises tourists against talking to strangers. By not talking to strangers, tourists miss out on a great part of their traveling experience. For example, some of the best parts of Osnos’ travel narrative are exchanges with fellow travelers. A wholesome travel experience involves interaction with the natives and fellow travelers. Previously, travelers chose to ignore this risk and mingle with the local population. However, the travel industry has highlighted this aspect too much. This effort has ended up instilling fear on travelers.
Osnos Evans. Re: The Grand Tour: Europe on Fifteen Hundred Yuan a Day. 2011. Web.
Scheyvens, Regina. “Backpacker Tourism and Third World Development.” Annals of Tourism Research 29.1 (2009): 144-164. Print.