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16. SIT Real Culture & ECON Support: (full)

A. Authentic Local Culture:

SIT solos can INTENTIONALLY seek authentic culture by researching & choosing exactly those sites & experiences OR by simply traveling 'closer-to-the-dirt' in your host culture. 

← at left: Puno, Peru's indigenous Uros people's floating islands on Lake Titicaca which were originally built as protection against attacking Incas. A feat of innovative human engineering!  Now, 120 islands, with ~ 1,300 people living on them. 

    Anecdote 1: Walking a rural Thailand Road, outside Chiang Mai in search of an obscure temple. I flagged down a local motorcyclist for directions. He had me jump on the back and off we went.  

    Anecdote 2: Same thing in India In my authentic old area hotel, devoid of foreigners, with a simple room (I bathed from a bucket of hot water & a bowl), the owner hooked me up with a local guide to motorcycle visit several painted house villages along the original Sillk Road.  In one village we sat roadside drank tea with some old men.                                           [ytlk: IND:?]

    Anecdote: Lijiang, China:   Several rural bus rides & a steep hike up a mountain road to this beautiful secluded village of homes carved into the mountain's stone, and faced with elaborately carved wooden screens.    A young Euro women holed up there for a week painting. 'Good-on' that solo independent adventurer!      [ytlk: IND:?] 

OTOH, Surfing Internet, you may find local authentic cultural experiences: cooking school, small farm visit, etc.

        Big bus tours & cruise excursions are usually moving too fast to provide any meaningful authentic local interaction opting instead for a quick & dirty faux experience at best ... to simply check off the box. 

B. Local Economy $ Support:

SIT (solo independent travel) support of a local economy means spending your traveler’s money to benefit locals,  rather than non-local, corporate-like businesses (hotels or retail chains) or corrupt government businesses like Myanmar’s Junta Military-owned hotels, travel agencies etc.

My tourist expenditures, if done locally, can significantly underwrite a community’s economic sustainability. Economics suggests a dollar spent locally multiplies its value 3 times within that local economy. 

SIT traveler’s may have to investigate closely to navigate these good & bad poles.         Ask ‘local’ hostel staff.


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