Posted: 04/14/20 | April 14th, 2020
If you happen to’re like me, you most likely have preconceived notions of sure locations. Whether or not from books, motion pictures, magazines, or blogs, each time we consider these locations, sure scenes, sounds, smells, and pictures seem in our heads — even in case you’ve by no means been to them.
It’s a pure human trait.
We use present data to kind an opinion and fill in our blind spots.
If you happen to requested me what Beijing is like, I’d say it was polluted, crowded, and chaotic. I think about not with the ability to see the constructing in entrance of me, streets filled with individuals, chaotic markets (give me all that meals, although!), insane visitors, and plenty of individuals driving bicycles.
However I’ve by no means been to Beijing, so I actually don’t know. That’s simply the picture I’ve in my head from studying and listening to concerning the metropolis over time.
Final month, I requested on Twitter what standard locations individuals wouldn’t go to and why. Vegas got here up rather a lot. So did Disney parks, Paris, Mexico, and India.
In the identical means I’ve a preconceived picture of Beijing, individuals had preconceived pictures of those locations.
However what shocked me probably the most was not the locations however how their causes have been primarily based on sensational headlines and cultural stereotypes.
These stereotypes outlined these locations a lot that folks didn’t even need to see in the event that they have been proper or improper (they’re largely improper).
Individuals didn’t need to go to Vegas as a result of they thought it was all casinos and the Strip, Mexico or India due to security considerations, or Paris due to the crowds and “impolite French individuals.”
Let’s take Vegas for instance. Why don’t individuals need to go to? Right here’s some responses:
It’s true that the Vegas Strip is a shitshow of individuals playing, getting drunk, and being obnoxious and/or simply usually bizarre. Every little thing is pretend, costly, and designed to get you to spend cash on the on line casino and in overpriced eating places.
However playing shouldn’t be the one matter to do there, even on the Strip. There’s extra to this metropolis of over two million individuals. For instance, here’s a pattern of what you are able to do that doesn’t contain casinos, ingesting, or spending some huge cash:
- The Mob Museum – That is an superior showcase of Sin Metropolis’s turbulent previous and its connection to the mafia.
- The Neon Museum – This eclectic outside graveyard for lots of of the town’s well-known neon indicators from the outdated casinos is basically an superior expertise. Ideally, go round sundown.
- Fremont Road – That is Previous Las Vegas. Sure, it does have historic casinos, but in addition buskers, avenue artists, open-air live shows, and tons of attention-grabbing people-watching! A four-block cover covers a lot of the road, on which there are common mild exhibits as nicely. You too can take a zipper line over the road itself.
- Purple Rock Canyon – Take a break from the town for some scenic mountaineering and biking trails simply 30 minutes from city.
- Hoover Dam and Lake Mead – Underneath an hour east of Vegas is Hoover Dam, this an enormous feat of engineering spanning over 1,200 toes and standing 700 toes tall. Lake Mead, a by-product of the dam, is nice for swimming, kayaking, and different water actions. You too can take a guided tour of the dam itself (for $30 USD).
- The Nationwide Atomic Testing Museum – An affiliate of the Smithsonian Museum, this exhibition north of city paperwork the historical past of nuclear testing in Nevada (over 900 nuclear bombs have been detonated within the state). There’s additionally a separate exhibit for Space 51 too (the reality is on the market!).
- The Arts District – This space is stuffed with galleries, thrift and classic shops, theatres, and music venues and is the cultural coronary heart of the town.
- The Haunted Museum – This paranormal museum is stuffed with allegedly cursed objects, similar to haunted dolls and paraphernalia owned by serial killers. There are 30 rooms stuffed with every kind of oddities, and the home itself is alleged to be haunted too.
You’ll be able to go a whole journey with out ever stepping foot on The Strip or in a on line casino.
But, for therefore many, it’s as if “Vegas = playing = The Strip” and nothing else exists. The picture of Las Vegas portrayed within the media is considered one of Bacchanalian debauchery. That’s all we see.
I used to assume the identical means.
Earlier than I first visited Las Vegas, I simply thought it was all celebration, celebration, celebration. However the extra I left the Strip, the extra I noticed a vibrant metropolis with rather a lot to extra supply than simply playing and drinks. I noticed that the stereotypes of Vegas have been improper.
Equally, whereas there are severe points in Mexico, you’re unlikely to get kidnapped or robbed in your journey to Cancún — a lot of the hazard in Mexico revolves round medicine. And, as I’ve mentioned earlier than, Paris isn’t a touristy vacation spot with impolite individuals. The French aren’t kind of impolite than anybody else on this planet. However in case you solely take care of those within the vacationer trade dealing with massive numbers of vacationers, your picture goes to be of “impolite French individuals.” As a result of they’re most likely sick of individuals asking the identical questions time and again. However you possibly can encounter that all through the world in touristy areas. It’s not restricted to Paris.
Everybody has their very own record of locations they aren’t curious about going to. I don’t have a powerful want to see Saudi Arabia, and I’ve developed some bronchial asthma points which have pushed China and India down my “to see” record on account of their air pollution (however they’re nonetheless on my record).
However, earlier than you write off a vacation spot, take into account the explanation why.
In case your inclination is to put in writing it off since you assume it’s a sure primarily based our cultural stereotype of a spot, rethink.
Analysis a vacation spot earlier than you pigeonhole it primarily based on what the media says about it (or a part of it).
Locations are all the time greater than their cultural pictures of them. That’s the purpose of journey. To peel again the layers and actually uncover what makes a spot tick. Look past mainstream notion.
As a result of it’s typically the locations we anticipate the least from that find yourself usually turn out to be probably the most memorable.
P.S. – We’ve launched a brand new Patreon the place you possibly can tales and suggestions I don’t share on this weblog, a personal Fb group, telephone calls with me and the staff, stay Q&As, postcards from the highway, signed copies of my books, and rather more! Click on right here to study extra and enroll in the present day!
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