Editorial: Being a tourist instead of being a critic
Working with The Cord has given me the opportunity to travel to many different places for free. Among these, the most notable was our trip to Calgary at the beginning of this year.
Thankfully, I had to bear no burden for the expenses of the trip. This allowed my mind the freedom to explore the whole journey in a more critical sense. Let me explain.
From the moment our trip started with us making our way to the Waterloo Airport, it was a brand new experience for me at every single turn.
I had never been to Calgary before, so I was looking forward to arriving in the 4th most livable city in the world. I’m not going to lie, I had very low expectations.
I envisioned Calgary to be plain and empty with very little to see or do, but I knew I was wrong the moment I saw the sheer amount of lights beaming out of the city when we were flying over it just before landing.
I spent the whole duration of my stay admiring the city, but I was also filled with questions. Why is it so empty here? Why is the mall empty during a weekend? Why do I not see anyone working inside the commercial buildings? Is this city hiding something?
Near the end of the trip, I asked myself if being this critical towards a place I’m visiting for free made me ungrateful, but I’d like to think otherwise
All these questions forced me look on the internet only to find that Calgary is home to one of the greatest outdoor shows in the world, known as the Calgary Stampede. Calgary also has the strongest economy in all of Canada. So the people there work, just not when I’m looking.
I remember stumbling into a club late at night with my colleagues and much to my surprise, it was packed and booming. I had a moment where I looked at the dancefloor and just said to myself, “So that’s where everyone is.”
Yes, I was a little drunk, but the point is the night life in Calgary is fantastic and I would have never known if I hadn’t kept trying to figure out where all the people were.
Near the end of the trip, I asked myself if being this critical towards a place I’m visiting for free made me ungrateful, but I’d like to think otherwise. If I hadn’t been so curious, I would never have known about all the little facts and details that made Calgary so special.
Looking back I realized I missed out on so many details when I visited different places in the world because I was too busy being an arrogant tourist and not someone willing to ask questions, research and explore. So, what truly matters, that insta-worthy picture or how a place really made you feel?