Does It Matter If I’m Not Traveling “Authentically”?

Digital Nomad In Franschhoek, South Africa

A shot I took in Franschhoek, an awesome (and touristy 😬) spot 1 hour out of Cape Town

I Hear It All The Time While Traveling

We left the touristy area and found this great spot that like no one else knows about. It was like the real Vietnam.

Yeah tier 1 cities are way too touristy, I don’t go there. That’s not the real China

Ohh ya, I found this incredible local spot with all these locals that’s just so local

You like Cancun? Wow you’re a real garbage individual and you should be ashamed.

Okay, Maybe I Made That Last One Up

But at times it really feels that way. It feels like if you’re into a touristy place too much you’re not traveling “correctly”. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard some variation of the lines above I could afford to live in one of those super touristy Greek islands that are too main stream for the “real travelers“.

Digital Nomad Places To Work - Santorini
A photo from my favorite cafe in the (ever so touristy) Santorini – Check out my Santorini Digital Nomad Guide

I’m Writing This From The Top of A Hotel in Downtown Cape Town

In the business district of the city. There are more American & Mexican restaurants than African ones. Part of me feels a bit guilty about this. I chose to come to Africa because I wanted to challenge myself, to experience something new and different. I have never been to Sub-Saharan South Africa before this and I was hoping to experience something different, something challenging and exciting. Three days into my trip here I got mugged in Johannesburg which was definitely exciting. I drove a car through Mpumalanga (the prettiest place I’ve been so far in SA) and Kruger National Park and saw so many wild animals I lost count.

However, for the last month and a half I’ve been in Cape Town. Arguably the most caucasian city in all of Africa, earlier this week I hiked around Table Mountain and honestly if I was dropped on that hiking trail I could’ve believed I was in Colorado or California it was mostly white people and dogs.

I feel a bit guilty about this, it’s like I spent all this time flying across the world and I’m drinking wine and hiking like I could’ve in Napa Valley (If you want to see some reviews of the drinks I came across here, check out my Drink Reviews W/ A Redneck playlist)

Are We Pigeonholing Countries?

I’ve found that in most developing countries if you are in an area that’s more developed it’s automatically inauthentic. It kind of feels a bit like the equivalent of the super old fashioned man from the countryside complaining about change and modernity.

Do more developed areas tend to be more American / Western influenced? Yes they do. As western tourists we obviously want to experience something different, something new. However, I’m afraid that for this reason we almost prefer for developing countries to remain less developed, stuck in a certain time, and not evolving.

A picture of the rooftop I’m writing this from w/ Table Mountain in the background

So Does It Matter? And Why Do I Care?

There’s an idea that the thing you hate most in others are the elements you can’t accept about yourself. I think this really could be the root of me despising people who act like they’re too cool for places. It’s because I do it myself.

There’s this hatred of others looking down on me. After all, how can I look down on others if they’re already looking down on me? Even after realizing during my Greece – Turkey bike trip how much my ego hurts me, I still continue to keep my ego fully inflated. My fragile ego still continues to seethe into so many areas of my life….

If you dislike a place you’re totally entitled to that. I hate both toursity and non-toursity areas. Moving forward I’m going to work on disliking places for reasons other than they’re too touristy. I’m also going to work to stop worrying about traveling authentically The South Africans born in Cape Town are just as much South African as any other citizens, it’d be ridiculous to say that this place is less African.

Have questions about digital nomading, or want to tell me to f*** off? Message me on Instagram, I’m happy to listen 🙂

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