Travelling is about enjoying experiences, either visiting a well known or little visited destination, savouring the journey, relaxing, finding adventure, visiting family, attending a festival or event these are just a few of the multitude of reasons for travelling.
An often quoted reason by travellers is to experience a different culture, to immerse themselves in an alien community.
“The wider this culture gap generally the greater our interest”
Culture often defines a destination and comprises many aspects of the way of life of its people; language, art, social action and interaction, spirituality and perception of their surroundings. These are what attract us to a society, they are different from us and their values differ from ours. The wider this culture gap generally the greater our interest and the more exciting it appears to us.
Even within a relatively short distance cultures can be entirely different. The various countries that comprise Europe are ample proof of this, but within a country or even a region of the country there can be contrasting ways of life.
People are culture and it is always fascinating to meet them, immersing yourself in a society requires getting to know the people; no surprise hopefully. There is not any particular skill required for this or to be especially extrovert. A little friendliness, an open minded attitude and a willingness to engage are all that is needed. Smiling often helps break through any language barriers.
Being allowed access to another society, accepted and made to feel welcome is a privilege we can all enjoy even if only for a short time.
“memories that come flooding back”
The images of the people that you meet can often portray the culture and character of a destination and provide the strongest memories. Think back to places that you have visited and many of the memories that come flooding back will feature people. A tour guide, fruit seller, local family event if you were really lucky or people at work, portraying people actually involved in daily activities can provide some especially interesting images.
Providing there are not any cultural restrictions, respect of people’s privacy is retained the timing right it is possible to return with plenty of striking images. These often say much more about the destination than any architectural or even landscape picture can.
A candid portrait of a local person smiling naturally, a face full of character maybe enjoying some freetime or going about their daily business. These are the kind of the images that make my trips really special, and why I continue to travel and take photographs.
I hope you enjoy some of my own special memories of the people that I have met on some recent trips.