At the heart of Dotted Globe, is my interest in learning about different cultures – including both extinct and living cultures.
Travelers traditionally understand and experience a new culture through museums, historic buildings and walking tours. Cultural exploration goes beyond these avenues and focuses on finding an authentic travel experience that provides a true cultural immersion. Cultural exploration involves understanding the history of a place through its diverse communities, historic districts and areas, renowned landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As a traveler, you can explore a destination’s cultural heritage in many ways. Travelers can visit economically important businesses and activities e.g. visiting a Cuban Cigar factory in Havana or vineyards in Italy. Cultural exploration may also involve venturing outside urban areas and
While we place a lot of emphasis on understanding cultural differences, I am more interested in seeking out cultural similarities. Even the most diverse cultures might share strikingly similar characteristics in their cultural makeup, societal norms and values, religious observances and more. For me, cultural exploration is more than gaining an insider’s perspective; it is about reflecting on the shared traditions and belief systems to understand historical events, ancient human migration and the development of human society. It is about understanding the cultural anthropology and archaeology of the destination.
When I travel, I wonder about the Bedouin’s nomadic life in the desert, traditional Christmas celebrations in America and the spices commonly used in Qatari kitchens.
Most travelers think of culinary travel as an exotic Anthony Bourdain style, behind the scenes venture into restaurants, eateries and stranger’s kitchens. However culinary travel is not only for epicurean travelers. It is for anyone with an interest in understanding the destination through its cuisine. It involves indulging in authentic cuisine, understanding the culinary influences and reasons behind the creation of local cuisine.
Culinary travel takes many forms. Culinary travelers can take exotic cooking classes, visit the local markets, or eat the local specialty street foods. It goes beyond Michelin starred guides and dives headlong into fusion foods, microbreweries, patisseries, annual harvests and more. It usually ALWAYS involves hunger pangs inducing, drool-worthy overhead shots of food. For culinary travelers, the food and drink is not a side experience of the trip but among its highlight. Culinary travelers consider local cuisine a driving factor in travel decisions and face greater emphasis on the quality, taste, value, and deliciousness of freshly prepared food rather than its presentation and traditional accompaniments. Research tells that millennials are most likely to undertake focused culinary trips from chocolate trails, wine trails and sushi classes to food tours, seafood festivals and cooking with local chefs.
At Dotted Globe, I undertake culinary travel in the most fun way – stop, linger, sample and savor when I see eateries, food trucks or carts that capture my interest.
Ecotourism.org defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves interpretation and education”. Ecotourism encourages learning, understanding, and appreciation for nature. Ecotourism helps conserve and protect the naturally occurring bio-diversity of the earth. Ecotourism means minimizing impact to the destination, leaving no trace and conserving its beauty and biodiversity for the next generation. Ecotourism also means being a culturally aware and respectful visitor and being appreciative and courteous of the cultural heritage of your destination. Ecotourism means choosing to support and promote indigenous economy and local people.
Ecotourism means connecting with the natural world. One need not take a trip to a remote, exotic locale to be an eco-tourist. Ecotourism starts in your backyard – from visiting local nature preserves, leaving no trace as you hike state and national parks, staying in eco-lodges, going on birding trails and undertaking green travel.
I enjoy visiting and hiking National parks, camping in exotic landscapes, and seeking out natural wildlife interactions. My favorite travel landscapes include Wadi Rum in Jordan, White Sands National Monument in New Mexico and South Dakota’s Badlands National Park. Each of these landscapes is vastly dissimilar to other geographic areas and surreal in its own way. Some of the incredible wildlife interactions I have had include attending a turtle hatchling release at Padre Island National Seashore and watching the jumping prairie fox at Custer State Park in South Dakota.
Frankly, responsible travel means not acting like an entitled visitor. Responsible travel means being conscious of your ‘guest’ status. At Dotted Globe, we believe that responsible travel is the only way to travel. Responsible travel naturally ties in with everything that we do. Responsible travel means respecting cultural heritage of the destination when traveling. It includes not touching or otherwise vandalizing historical structures and respecting all places of worship, local beliefs, cultures
Are you interested in responsible travel? There are many ways in which you can be a responsible traveler. Learning few words of the local language, dressing appropriately, disposing your trash in the appropriate way, immersing yourself in the destination, buying local food and eating local cuisine, hiring local guides, using environment friendly products, taking useful gifts for natives, volunteering in conservation projects, not participating in excursions that mistreat animals, not buying illegal goods or souvenirs made from endangered species and respecting local belief systems are all ways to do your bit.