Why do most people want to travel authentic? Here is how to do it.

When travelling to places with a Different Culture or a place out of out comfort zone, we often want to experience the Authentic way of living in that Country. The Question is : What is Authentic Travel?

But before we dive into Authentic Traveling, think about this, while keeping the above Question in mind.

What we somehow forget , is that ever since people started traveling, they have left footsteps behind. Those Footprints that were left behind we hear stories. But the more we travel, the more we get accustomed to certain ways. A Ritual may be completely shocking at first, but the next time the effect will be different, because we have already been confronted with this. Its like one thing can only be Authentic in one Country and not another, although they may have the same beliefs.

The Sacred Valley, authentic travel
The Sacred Valley, an Important Landmark, Valley in the History of the Inkas.

The Media, Newspapers and the Internet also have a huge influence, because most of the information we can read ahead. This leads to the fact that we build an Image in out head, of what we think is Authentic.

So, The Question become what is Authentic?
Is Authentic the way of living one thousand Years ago?
Is it the adaptation of life?
Is it enjoying and appreciating the Landmarks, Structures and Believes that where left behind by past Generations?
Most of all what is Authentic Travel?

I believe it is a little of all of the Above. Because we have to remember that adaptation; is a a way of life. Would you want to live the way the Races lived one thousand years ago? Your answer may be yes of no, but ultimately every generation has/had problems they where facing.

Our Generation is the one that tries to maintain the happy medium between Tradition and Technology.
But is it possible moving with the “modern” way of life and holding and keep our Traditions?

The answer is very simple YES! Having spend a little over a Month in Peru last year, this became crystal clear.

The Peruvians (as well as most of South America) have the split between Tradition and Modern Life down pat. Maybe you would think oh “third” world, they wouldn’t have cellphones and internet. (That was the impression I had before my travels anyways). Turns Out I was wrong. I had some of the best internet in Peru, certainly better than New Zealand (sorry New Zealand) and even better than some places in Germany. Just because we believe they are Poor, we believe they have not adapted. Of course they are faced with Technology much the same way as we are. Technology has become a huge part of there way of living, as anywhere else in the World. The difference is that they way of living has not changed much beyond that. Like never lost their Joy in life.

The Difference: their Believes and Traditions that they still maintain, to keep the balance of the New and the Old.

Having traveled in South America you know it is possible, the believes of the “Inkas” is more present than ever, they believe in Pachamama (Mother Earth), the significance of the Condor and the Snake.
Each Region has there own traditional Clothing that they still wear for certain events. (However that of course has become a little bit of a Tourist Attraction, where they will parade around in their outfits to earn a few Dollars for a Photograph with Tourists. But can you blame them? )

So when I ask my self, have I experienced the Authentic Lifestyle of the Peruvians?
This would be a half Yes and half No. Unless you live in the country for a while you won’t experience the true authentic lifestyle, their traditions and way of life. There are some people who stay in a 5 star resort and say they haven’t seen the Authentic way of life. Well that is probably because the locals don’t even live there or can’t afford it in a lot of places.

Living in a Country and Traveling in a Country quickly become to different things. In Order to understand a country we have to be willing to learn, willing to adapt and willing to participate. Some places are only accessible with Tours, that are probably overpriced and defiantly not the Authentic Way, but they show an Authentic Part of the Country. The guides are sharing information with your about there Believes, Culture giving you a better understand of what you are seeing.

But why would the Inkas not show ever Traveller there sacred places? Why would they let outsiders take those places away from them? Soon these places will be over run with Tourism and it will never be the same as before.
The best example of this is Machu Picchu in Peru. After it was “rediscovered” in 1905, it has become a must see Destination. Of course the Peruvian Government is happy because the entry fee is not cheap, and they earn millions with just this one Tourist Attraction.
Machu Picchu Inkas Tour Authentic, authentic travel

So is Machu Picchu Authentic?

YES, because it is a Landmark, a Structure and Believe of a Civilization that is known for there great craftsmanship. It is a structure that has stood for more than 2000 years. What could be more Authentic than something like this? Machu Picchu is a unfinished City, that could have had so much more potential. But is a part of the Authentic Peru. It is part of History.

But you can certainly get an impression, while talking to people, going into restaurants outside of the Tourist mile, and learning about their culture and way of living. Local Markets are always a great place to go, to get a feel of the Culture. Most Countries have a Gringo Trail (or Tourist Trail), it is up to you to leave the beaten path, but to be respective and open-minded.
It is up to you buying something at every Market or Souvenir shop that a tour may stop at.
It is up to you to make your Travels as Authentic as possible.

So make it happen, and don’t say in the end; “But I didn’t experience the real Culture in the Country XXX!!” that is because you probably didn’t look in the right place.

Traveling is about learning, adapting and appreciating.
The next time you have a Beverage; make sure you give the first sip to Pachamama, because she is the Keeper of our Planet and will be grateful for a little. Just one of those Traditions that the Peruvians keep alive until now. Thanks!

So have you thought about what Authentic Travel is?

This is a contribution to a Blogparade that was started by Ulrike from Bamboo Blog under the original Titel “Authentizität auf Reisen” Translation to “Authentic Travel”. If you are interest in more fun articles, follow the link above. (Sadly most of them are written in German).

All content, pictures Copyright © 2015 by InkasTour.com • All Rights Reserved. All other content is copyrighted by the respective authors and linked to Origin.

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8 responses to “Why do most people want to travel authentic? Here is how to do it.”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post and I can relate to almost everything you wrote. The “what is authentic travel” question is one that I think most travelers ask themselves a lot.
    My first trip outside Europe was to Egypt more than 5 years ago, however I was staying at a resort and, in spite of trying some local food, I felt I was not experiencing the local culture at all. That’s why I tend not to include Egypt in the list of countries I’ve traveled to and feel it’s a country I yet have to visit.

    1. Yeah it’s so strange how we travel now nowadays and what some people classify as authentic and what is authentic. But I honestly love that you don’t include Egypt in your list of countries travel too for that reason. There are just different travel styles.

  2. I would love do some authentic travelling.. especially here in Europe. I want to travel as a “local”. Not sure if that makes any sense, but I would like to just see everyday life rather than the whole tourist mambo jumbo. 🙂 Looks like you had an amazing time in Peru. The traditional costumes are beautiful!

    1. That sounds like an amazing plan. Have you ever tried couch surfing. I don’t think there is a more authentic way to get to know the locals than that and I Europe it would be pretty cool to do. I enjoyed the colorful costumes as well, it’s nice when traditions are kept.

  3. Sweet photo’s! We’re gonna go there in a couple of months and I’m sure we’re gonna love it.

    1. Oh i am eure you will Love it.

  4. Danke, liebe Inka, für deinen tollen Beitrag! Ich habe den jetzt verlinkt und werde den auch in den nächsten Tagen auf meinen Socialmedia-Kanälen verbreiten. Deine Fotos haben mich sehr beeindruckt! Ich hoffe, dass ich am Wochenende noch mehr Ruhe finde, mich mit Deinem Artikel auseinanderzusetzen.
    Liebe Grüße

    1. Liebe Ulrike, Vielen lieben Dank für deinen Netten Worte. 😀 Lg Inka

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