Traveling can open your eyes to how others live. Is there poverty or riches? Are people starving or thriving? And where is my part in all this as a tourist? This has become the question that I have had in my head for the last couple of days. How am I as a tourist? And what kind of mark do I leave?
The things we have seen these seven weeks have been amazing but also hard. We have seen mansions where people lived and got wealthy through slave trade. And we have seen families living on nothing. Houses that could fall apart any day now. I have seen a man walking around with an open wound, dogs with tumors hanging from its body and I have seen children begging for money. The things we see are not always shown on our insta, told to our families and friends.
When we were in Cuba and took out money, we took out two months of Cubans salary in one day right in front of their eyes. They had nothing, and here we come and take out money like it was nothing. When we walked around in Cuba trying to find dinner they almost dragged us into their restaurant, because we were the first tourists they had in 14 days. We chose the restaurant with the lowest prize and with the food that looked the freshest. What were we thinking? What mark did I leave when traveling to a country where dictatorship and lies are fed to the people like wildfires? I think that is something I am going to take with me, the poordom and the lies and next time I see the expensive food at home that is nothing compared to the Cuban's 500% inflation.
When we came to Dangriga a beautiful island with a terrible history entangled in the claws of the European greed, a man shouted white dominance and white power. When we traveled in Europe we never saw the effects the Europeans have had on other countries. We were always welcomed. When we came to Dangriga we got a lecture on how the Europeans had treated the slaves and the natives. During that lecture you got questions in your head, for example; How would the countries look today if the Europeans never came and conquered? And once again I as a European comes to these countries and have loads of money, the kind of money they don’t have.
The thing about traveling is to relax, change the everyday routines and have a good time. But often you don’t think about what mark you leave and the marks people have left. The locals don’t always get happy when you arrive and only see the beaches, the tourist places and only stay in the five-star hotel. There is more to a country than only these places. And do your teachers in the countries you are visiting. For once it’s more fun to know what has happened in this country. How did it become to look like this? And for a second you will know what kind of role you have as a tourist. Does the country depend on tourism or will there be a negative view on the tourist?
This is not the funniest blog but I feel it was necessary to get this out. That the trip is not always about beaches and sun but also reality.