donderdag 3 september 2015

Let me tell you a story..


Some buy a lonely planet guide when travelling to an unknown destination or just go with the wind and walk the path they think is the best for them. Others hire a tour guide to guide them during their travels and tell them the stories about the places they visit. During the summer school we also had an excellent tour guide, Omar A'lamet. For me this was the first time I ever found myself travelling with a tour guide. Of course it is extremely useful to have someone guide you and help you out in a difficult situation in a country in which you can find yourself struggling to even order a drink. But others find it annoying to constantly have the same guide tell you a story.

And what about these stories? Tourists visit certain places to experience or hear these stories. According to Clare Foster and Scott McCabe the stories told to tourists have a narrativist attitude.1.
The experiences of a tourist are expressed by their stories about people, places and the given circumstances they have seen/encountered. But are they also not influenced by the stories told to them by the tour guide? Of course these stories mainly consist of historical facts and characteristics but can also be influenced by the tour guides view and for example his or hers political views.

All of us listening to Rustum Mkhjian, assistant-director to the baptism site
I was very happy to have a tour guide during our travels in Jordan to help us out in difficult situations and explain to us the disguised beauty of Jordan. Although I have to be honest that for me personally a tour guide can be ceasing, especially in group of 25 students. Therefore I have not always been with the group during Omar's guiding stories but I am still thankful to him that was there with us the whole summer school.

An interesting fact is that our tour guide is a Christian and not a muslim, which was a pure coincidence but still surprising in a muslim country. I have to be honest that I sometimes perceived this as reducing for the authentical experience. But if you want to know more about my experiences with authenticity you will have to read my next blog entries.

Have a good day!

1. McCabe, S., & Foster, C. (2006). The role and function of narrative in tourist interaction. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change4(3), 


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