I want to discuss something that I was prompted to think more deeply into thanks to something that happened on Instagram. I posted a story about how two fellow travellers and content creators (Eva Zu Beck and Against the Compass) had inspired me to add some 'random' and 'off the beaten path' destinations to my bucket list. The ones I mentioned were specifically due to content I had seen recently that had inspired me - Iraqi Kurdistan, Pakistan, Iran, Oman, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.This was then picked up by an account who shared my stories with their followers. They also told me they were 'concerned with [my] language' and that I was 'reinforcing marginalisation and notions of cultural superiority'. After their sharing of my stories, I started to get a LOT of messages. Many of these were rather abusive and hateful (including one person calling me a 'racist pig' and saying my 'language is disgusting').However, it did also encourage some civil discussion with some people, who were polite enough to explain why they thought my use of the phrases 'random' and 'off the beaten path' was damaging. I can understand why people found my phrasing offensive when I called their countries 'random' - to be honest, I would find it a tiny bit insulting if someone said my country/city was a 'random' place to go (although I live in a very small town in Hampshire which has no reason for people to visit... so maybe calling it a random place to visit wouldn't be particularly incorrect).Since much of the 'discussion' was a lot of people shouting their opinions and not taking the time to actually listen to WHY people hold the opinions they do, I wanted to research it more in depth and try to understand the reasoning behind all of this and whether calling places 'off the beaten path' is actually harmful, as well as to how it impacts both locals and tourists alike.
In the Western world, a funeral is an ending. A funeral is a final goodbye. We cry, we try to accept that we will never see that loved one again. But what if death didn't mean goodbye? For the Toraja people of South Sulawesi in Indonesia, death is not the end.A huge thank you to the Indonesian Tourism board for hosting me on the amazing Trip of Wonders, highlighting some of the best cultural wonders around Indonesia. Warning: the following post contains images that may be upsetting to some readers.