Tourist vs. Local

I’ve been on a lot of city tours in my life. I used to manage an Executive MBA program and traveled every year with my groups to an international destination to learn about “doing business in…” whatever country we visited. We always included cultural activities to help the students understand not only business, but also the history, culture and people in the places we visited. Some of the activities we organized were good, some not so much.

The reality is, most leave you with only a cursory understanding of the place and not much more. You get lots of facts and dates and fancy architectural lingo (renaissance, baroque, cubist, oh my!) and if you’re anything like me, most of the information falls to the bottom of your brain to rest alongside your long lost knowledge of algebra and the preamble of the constitution you memorized so many years ago. (Let’s not discuss how many, specifically, lest we date ourselves.)

The taste of marybirmingham09

I’ve also traveled a good deal on my own, visiting the family and friends I have scattered across the globe. And always, every time, it never fails… the trips I take to a place where I know a local person are undoubtedly the best.

Or, sometimes I get lucky in a new place and plan activities with amazing guides who are able to really paint a picture of the place, its people and the way of life there. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know. Yes, we have Trip Advisor now, but it can take hours to sort through all of the reviews and a discerning eye to know whether the reviewers have similar tastes and preferences to yours. (Just because marybirmingham09 gave the Barcelona walking tour 5-stars doesn’t mean you would.)
The most memorable experiences I’ve had traveling somewhere I’ve not known someone were always led by great guides who gave me real insight into the place.

These days most information can be found on the internet… when was the Prague castle built? Internet. Why is it called the Powder Tower? Internet. What is it like when one of your grandfathers is still a registered voter of the active communist party in the Czech Republic while the other is a survivor of the Communist workers camps in Siberia? Guide. But not just any guide.

Living the testing

I’ve lived in Prague for almost 10 months now and since I’ve been working for Travelove I’ve tested a number of activities in the city vetting them for you, our lovely clients. (You’re welcome!) I’ve learned more about Prague, both it’s ancient and more recent histories and the Czech people on these tours than I got living and working here for almost a year. Which leads me to believe that as a tourist, there is really no way one could get to truly understand this unique place with just a run-of-the-mill, point and shoot tour.
And that’s why Travelove was born. To help you not just see a place, but to truly understand it, to live it. To be more than a tourist, someone who has really experienced the place, met its people, and internalized its culture… it’s way more interesting and it’s so much more fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *