As I sit in the breezy courtyard of my pansiyon in Antalya, Turkey – I get into a discussion about travel with a fellow solo female traveler from Tokyo, Japan.
After traveling to 43 different countries so far, I’ve walked through numerous touristic shopping areas, and markets. For a person who enjoy window shopping, real shopping and haggling, I could say I’m in my element.
However, I have noticed on my travels that it can be challenging to find that unique piece of souvenir which was not mass produced in a foreign land.
Handmade plates found in Lindos, Greece
Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet – the country which the 14th Dalai Lama had to flee from back in 1959.
Rows of souvenir shops in Lhasa
During my 2008 visit of Tibet, I often wondered how the country would look if it was untouched by China. Continue reading
From my jaunts around the world, I have noticed that cultural boundaries are becoming a thing of the past. Regardless whether I am in the Himalayan mountains or deep in the Amazon or on a Safari in Africa – it requires no effort for me to find a man wearing T-shirt and jeans. On the contrary, the chances of seeing a local resident dressed in traditional, local attire are pretty slim, in most cases. Gone, are the days of partial nudism in the name of modesty, conformity – women are bound by restrictive bras and loincloths are things of the past.
Due to the power and spread of technology, mass media, western idealism, and “The American Dream” – more and more cultural groups around the world are allowing their cultural identity to diminish. Many reserve their traditional attire for special occasions or performances. In turn, tourists try on local attire for photos or buy them as a souvenir or as a novelty item. Continue reading