This week for the Indie Travel Challenge 2012, we want to know what you think about the Indie Travel Manifesto. Does it resonate with you? Do you think, based on the tenets of the Manifesto, that you are an indie traveler?
Honestly, I think the Indie Travel Manifesto is trying to over-simplify what an indie traveler is. I voted, up and down, based on what I feel TO ME is most important when traveling; but since we are not a bunch of futuristic, sci-fi robot clones…each of us is going to find different things important to, or defining, indie travel. I personally love my definition (as ridiculous as it my be) of an indie traveler I wrote about Week 2 – that an in indie traveler is someone who is basically poor, cocky, and not emo.
Based on the posts BootsnAll received about ‘what is an indie traveler’… they created the following manifesto:
I think this manifesto is worded in a way that should describe how you should live your life, whether you travel or not. ‘Adapt as you go’ and ‘be humble, good-humored, courteous, and patient’ should be things you do whether you travel the world, or never leave your small town. Its basically a manifesto of how to live happily, and not be a grumpy old person.
I think these are great things personally; but do they describe an ‘Indie Traveler’? probably some of them. But labeling someone as an indie traveler, is like labeling music ‘alternative’. It can range from everything from Sheryl Crow to Pantera. Indie just really means, ‘not corporate or mainstream’ and I believe there are probably some great luxury indie travelers too.
So what about those people? Who stay in the finest hotels, eat at 5 star restaurants, but hate tours and prefer to explore on their own.
Does the luxury part outweigh the explorer part and make them not indie?
Or how about a super-budget traveler, who sleeps in dorms or camps, eats nothing but street food, but packs a huge suitcase, only sees the super-touristy sights that you find in guidebooks, and takes all the tours?
Which becomes more important to being indie? The accommodations, or the way you see places? Sleeping in budget hostels, or off-the-beaten path exploration?
I don’t think a single manifest can be the guide for an indie traveler alone. I think a lot of it is how YOU PERSONALLY FEEL. I don’t think I’m an indie traveler. I don’t think half the above applies to me.
(Take ‘make informed decisions’ part. IM A MASTER at making un-informed decisions and just going with the flow to see what happens. If I made fully informed decisions all the time, I wouldn’t do half the things I do, like rent a car and drive solo across Ecuador, or throw 5 months of research out the window to buy $200 ticket to Caracas, Venezuela 3 weeks before I leave…and with no place to stay yet).
I don’t think I’m an indie traveler. I think I’m a horrible tourist.
I prefer to travel solo, act like a local, and I love my hot showers and toilet paper (though I can deal with cold water and love provincial houses…and have learned to always carry your own toilet paper here in South America.) I hate the freezing cold buses here and mostly fly between countries. I sleep in budget dorms, cook my own food to be cheaper, and try to stay away from the super-touristy areas.
But I love hostels for the tourists (and information they provide), sometimes get really whiney about missing all MY FOODS I cant find while traveling (I’ve been spoiled with the variety of cultural foods and the fresh fish I can buy in Las Vegas and Boston), and still love to photograph inside touristy churches.
So what part is most important to being an indie traveler?
I think this manifesto is more of a great way to live and think of the world. Its more , if you act the way the manifesto says, people wont think you as much of a deuchebag.
(I mean, NOT ‘seeking to understand other cultures’ is what leads to racism and prejudice…so shouldn’t you seek to understand other cultures whether you travel or not? If you seek to understand other cultures, but never travel, will you still be an indie traveler? Can you be an indie non-traveler?)
I like this manifesto. I think it is a great thing to think about. But I think its trying to oversimplify what being an indie traveler is.
I also think it is just trying to make a modern- hip label for travelers’ to call themselves. I mean, people have been traveling for centuries. Have you never heard Marco Polo or Livingstone being called INDIE TRAVELERS….. but they are 2 of the most famous travelers in history. So why this sudden new need to label someone as either an indie traveler or not.
Are you not cool if you don’t fit the ‘indie traveler’ profile?
I think people like to travel differently, and for their own reasons. Some people love cruises and tours, some people like to live alone in the jungle or other harsh climates. Some people have all the money but not the time; and get to only spend a few days in each city, so they see the most famous parts or take lots of tours. Some people (like me) have all the time in the world, but not the money…so I stay in places longer, avoid the hi-cost tours, and like to do what the broke locals do.
I think the Indie manifesto gives us all something to think about. But I also think it is an unnecessary label.
Just travel how you like, how you want, how it makes you happy…and forget about trying to fit someone’s definition.
This is part of Boots n All 2012 Indie Travel Challenge. I’m doing this in hopes of becoming a more consistent and better travel-blogger. And maybe get to own a futuristic sci-fi robot.
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.