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Travelling in countries where much of the local population is poor and deprived.

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Originally part of Slumdog Millionaire
How does it make you feel?
10 years ago, March 7th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #65184  
B Posts: 151
My sister told me once back when she was still single that she gets the urge to go to the Philippines whenever she feels depress and her life seems to fall apart. Somehow, witnessing poverty makes her problems seem miniscule compare to how hard life is over there. She gets a new lease of life returning back to Australia realising how lucky and privilege she is.

I wonder if any travellers also felt the same way after visiting an impoverished country. Reply to this

10 years ago, March 7th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #65194  

I wonder if any travellers also felt the same way after visiting an impoverished country.


Yeah, it makes me realise what a luxury it is to come from a country with a high standard of living and a decent standard of human rights, while people living around me who have even more than I do are feeling deprived.
Reply to this

10 years ago, March 7th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #65224  
I was in Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. There was poverty in all of those countries - some more obvious than others. Ecuador has more of a middle class than I might have expected (though poverty too). Panama City was fascinating in having 50 story skyscrapers built to the highest standards, and then neighborhoods where it is a wonder how the tenement manages to stand at all. I particularly remember there is a neighborhood called Casco Viejo, which is undergoing redevelopment to be a touristy, boutiquey area. It is fine but to get there you have to go through San Felipe. Tourists (and especially gringos) do not walk through that neighborhood. Tourist police will turn you around if you wonder from Casco Viejo to San Felipe. Nicaragua, being the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere next to only Haiti had very apparent poverty with many people living in literally tin shacks and dirt floors.

Yes, it does become hard to complain about items when you realize what could be an alternative for you. For me, there are two thoughts. The reality is, of course, you can't save the world and at what point in travels do you have to somewhat turn a deaf ear and blind eye? Being caucasian in these countries, it was assumed I had money (which relatively speaking I do), and was often asked to buy something or give cash. However, here is the "lifeboat in the water with lots of people in the water" theory...if you try to let everyone on the boat, when does the boat capsize? That's a tough reality. I also had the thought that wealth is relative. I have some small understanding of why the Donald Trumps of the world seclude themselves from "poor" people like me. If they made themselves available to middle class folks, us middle class folks would "capsize" his financial boat.

Some hard realities about the world we live in... Reply to this

10 years ago, March 9th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #65350  
Hi,

A lot of countires are putting it the simple way...tourism bring employment...employment reduce poverty. Now the point is what a tourist bring in a country. If you travel all over India on less than 10usd a day, you bring a lot less to the country. It is the same issue with some all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. They don't bring as much because people stay only in the resort.

But for many countries, poverty would be way wider if tourists did stop to come. Reply to this

10 years ago, March 9th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #65378  
2 posts moved to this new topic: North Korea Reply to this

10 years ago, March 9th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #65422  

If you travel all over India on less than 10usd a day, you bring a lot less to the country. It is the same issue with some all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. They don't bring as much because people stay only in the resort.



If we think only in terms of numbers with dollar and pound signs in front of them as a way to bring something to a country, I suppose that is true. Reply to this

10 years ago, March 9th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #65436  
There are other great ways, and this is call volunteering or cultural exchanges. But this is somewhere another luxury, the luxury of time....some have time, some have means, the important thing is what you do with them.

But don't get me wrong...we all were students on a budget and may still be soon in the future...

And you could start another thread on this. Today if you want to see Nefertari Tomb in the Valley of the Queens in Luxor, if my info is correct...it cost 4500usd for a group of 10 for 45 minutes...put it simply...this is ridiculous....but the money is paying to built a full replica of the original in order to save it. I saw it 9 years ago for the sum that I found outrageous at that time one nearly 100usd...today I feel very fortunate....

Mell, this topic is as many things in life...there may be one problem, but sadly not a single solutions...we just deal the best we can to make it a better world.

I've got a friend who is very "green" and was blaming...and is blaming people who fly on long-haul for tourism because of pollution. Simple question, what would do the people of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Kenya, etc without tourism...none of this place is less than 3 hours from a wealthy place...now I know, it's many threads in one...sorry for this... Reply to this

10 years ago, March 9th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #65437  

Simple question, what would do the people of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Kenya, etc without tourism...none of this place is less than 3 hours from a wealthy place...


What is your friends answer, when you ask this question? Reply to this

10 years ago, March 9th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #65465  
There is no answer...take the Maldives, if tourist stop to go...the country goes down in deep poverty...but it's also the same for tens of countries around the world where tourism bring a huge amount of jobs and revenue. Reply to this

10 years ago, March 11th 2009 No: 10 Msg: #65601  
2 posts deleted. 2 accounts deleted. 2 URLs blacklisted. No spamming on these forums.


Reply to this

10 years ago, March 12th 2009 No: 11 Msg: #65737  
I lived for a long time in poverty (under $1 a day) and I view things differently. I know that happiness has nothing, but nothing to do with finances (in fact the worst part of my life was when I got a lot of money and social status).

I travelled to poor countries, and travelled the poorer regions in those countries trying to help locals with medicins.

Whenever I travel I leave something of my own there. Travelling is an expression of helping and understanding others, so whenever I travel for passion, I contribute to the well being of locals. Reply to this

10 years ago, March 14th 2009 No: 12 Msg: #65977  

I lived for a long time in poverty (under $1 a day) and I view things differently.


Where were you living at that time, Fiona?

Whenever I travel I leave something of my own there. Travelling is an expression of helping and understanding others, so whenever I travel for passion, I contribute to the well being of locals.


I try to do that as much as I can too when I am visiting a place where there are a lot of very poor people. I dont leave lots of money, but do little things like buying lunch for a beggar on the street while I am having lunch, or give away my daughters too small clothes. My boyfriend doesnt see the point of it, but I think that every nice thing we do means something to somebody even if it doesnt bring world peace or stop famines etc.

Just out of interest, what do you contribute to the locals? Reply to this

9 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 13 Msg: #74597  
Just one small point. We should simply not be proud of travelling and spending close to nothing when we are doing it.

Tourism in many places in the world is THE way for thousands, if not millions of people to feed their family. If you pride yourself to live on less than nothing in some very poor countries, you bring nothing to alleviate poverty.

Take places like Thailand ( and I don't want to comment on India). If you proud yourself to live on less than 10us a day, you simply don't bring anything to the counrty. You could even be a burden if you had an accident.

Tourism is...let be honest...often about our selfenjoyment...but as most on this site will decry masstourism....we should let a positive imprint. Now there are many ways to do it. You can volonteer and help a local community...but being non active...and living on nothing...even less than a lot of the locals do...is not gratifying for the country you visit. Reply to this

9 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 14 Msg: #74604  
1 posts merged into this topic from: Materialism. Reply to this

9 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 15 Msg: #74606  

We should simply not be proud of travelling and spending close to nothing when we are doing it.



Well, that is your opinion, but when a person manages their money so well that they can travel extensively on very little I think they have something to be proud of. Maybe you are in the lucky position that you dont need to consider your budget as much as some people do. Well, good for you. 😉

Anyway, even if money was the only thing we bring to countries when we travel those on a small budget generally spend well over the daily minimum wage of the country they are travelling in everyday. And what we do with our money also makes a difference. Those spending large amounts dont necessarily share with anybody, while those on small budgets are not necessarily unwilling to share with those less forturnate than themselves.

You could even be a burden if you had an accident.


Are you sure about that? In some less than civilized coutries I am not so sure a person would be given life saving medical care, just because they are a human being.

we should let a positive imprint. Now there are many ways to do it. You can volonteer and help a local community...but being non active...


Would you give us some examples of what you do to leave a positive imprint on the countries you visit.

......but being non active...


Taking ourselves to another country and travelling around involves being quite active..... Also, I think you by far underestimate our non financial value as people. Anyone who goes to another country introduces that country to new ways and visa versa and is in their own individual way helping the collective mind of the world to open.

Tourism in many places in the world is THE way for thousands, if not millions of people to feed their family.


Not in every country it isnt. In some countries most of the money goes into the pockets of faschist governments who couldnt care less about the welfare of the people of that country.
Reply to this

9 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 16 Msg: #74647  
I agree totally with Mel! And second point, I don't travel cheaply for pride, I travel cheaply because I don't have much money (my own fault, I only earn as much as I think I will need for the next period of travel), but still love to travel.

Budget travellers on the whole I would say bring more to a country than the super rich or even the modestly rich tourists. We stay in homestays, eat in road side shacks, buy at markets, take cycle rickshaws, buses (often small family businesses) and if neccesary hire a local kid to show us around some place. On top of that quite a few of us go to places that would otherwise not see any tourism or money: of the beaten track, not developed, without tourist infrastructure and more. Being on a budget doesn't mean depriving the local population of income. Just because I know what things should cost doesn't mean I don't spend money. I bargain yes, but bargaining to me is both sides being happy, not just me. Ten dollars a day is a shit load of money in India, where the average income is less than 2 dollars a day. Whereas a budget traveller spreads his wealth more, perhaps a wealthy tourist puts a lot of money in certain spots. Also fine, but no better or worse than what I do. I spend 4000 pounds in 10 month over a huge area, somebody else spends it in one hotel, on one beach at one bar. Which is better? Do you know? Do I know?

You seem to mistake good budget management with being stingy towards everybody else. I vary my budget according to the country. In Thailand I might need to spend much more than 10 dollars a day, I don't know. In India, I don't need to. I could spend twenty dollars a day, by buying beers every evening and eating in slightly fancier restaurants or staying in slightly fancier hotels. I'm not sure how that will help the local population though.

Is volunteering always such a positive imprint? I can imagine that it takes away jobs from locals, why pay for a local when you can get a paying volunteer to do the same job, and they will feel good about it as well! Believe me there are lots of pros and cons to that subject too. Helping a local community? Doesn't eating or staying with a local family help the local community? Or does it have to be putting up some school or clinic in the village? Does that count for more?

I don't travel to save the world, neither do I travel to brag about it to other people. I don't travel to make poor people more poor, but I don't feel responsible for their situation either. I feel empathy and I find it terrible, and perhaps by going around and spending the little money I have on a meal in a local restaurant(which saves me money and gives them a little extra which they might not have got if I hadn't stumbled by looking for a cheap place to eat), I help somewhat, but I have no illusions to my impact on the poverty of this planet.

If I have an accident I have an insurance and I won't be a burden to anybody.

Last but not least: Yes, I travel for my pleasure and I do it on a budget, but I don't hurt anybody with it. The world isn't worse of because of it (as far as I know... Well maybe it is, pollution wise), I pay for my own travels and I enjoy it. I don't kill, I don't steal, I don't live of benefits, I am no pedophile, I respect and try to learn from other culture. What is the problem?

Reply to this

9 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 17 Msg: #74648  

....India, where the average income is less than 2 dollars a day.


Last I heard, it was 70 Cents per day. But that was a few years ago. I have been in India a few times, including around half a month ago. I often wondered what a person spends the 70 cents per day on. I know I am buying things like nice cups of espresso and luxuries like that, which are expensive by local standards and that is how I managed to spend 10 to 20 Euros per day. But, I did try to figure out what I would buy if I only had 70 cents per day and lived in one of those make shift shacks on the side of the street. I am not sure the 70 cents would even buy enough very plain food for a day for one person, let alone a family.

Speaking of helping financially, I frequently gave in tips more than a days minimum wage to waiters, taxi drivers etc. For beggars, I sometimes gave them at least a days wages worth of food or secondhand clothes for their kids. This may not be providing enormous wealth to the community, but I do believe that when I give these things they mean something to the receiver. If I did not believe that these little things are important to those who receive them, I would find the poverty in India very distressing. I have a need to do something small for people on a regular basis so I can feel like I put some joy into the world. I like when somebody gives me something, so I dont see why it would not be the same when I do it for somebody else. It sure made me feel good when I managed to furnish most of my appartment here in Germany with free furniture because the neighbours wanted to be rid of it. It doesnt much matter whether their intentions were to be rid of the furniture or to be nice to me because free furniture meant more money to spend on travelling and other things. Reply to this

9 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 18 Msg: #74650  

I don't travel to save the world, neither do I travel to brag about it to other people. I don't travel to make poor people more poor, but I don't feel responsible for their situation either.



Ireland(where I come from) used to be a very poor country and I am aware that because of various factors it is no longer poor. When I visit countries where wealth is unfairly distributed, I am aware that those who are poor and deprived and under the thumb of cruel governments could have been me if I was not lucky enough to be born in the time I was so I can experience Ireland as a wealthy country that allowes me to join in the luxurious experience of travelling around the world like all those others who were born in wealthy countries with a fairly healthy political system. I often hope when I am in certain countries that the children or grandchildren of those I see there will experience a better political situation in their country than they themselves are experiencing. How much poverty the people of certain countries experience often has a lot to do with a current unfair political situation in the country. Often, not everybody in the country is poor. Often many are desperately poor, while a small percentage are obscenely rich. And do the rich get their wealth by fair means, and is that the fault of how much the tourists do or dont spend? I think it rarely is. Money is only as good as the hands it is in. If there is a faschist government that has no interest in being fair, then people will remain poor, no matter how much money we spend on our holiday there.
Reply to this

9 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 19 Msg: #74651  

What is the problem?



I dont know what the problem is. It is as if some think that there is something wrong with doing things for pleasure. Is there? I get more than pleasure out of travel. I want to find out more about the world and sometimes the things I find out give me the opposite of pleasure, but I do also experience a lot of pleasure while I sit on a beach looking out at the expanse of water, or relax in a cafe, or look at a beautiful building.....in the various parts of the world. And the variety that travel provides is the biggest pleasure of all.
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9 years ago, June 2nd 2009 No: 20 Msg: #74669  
Hi Ralf and Mell,

Ralf, I appreciate your point and agree with a lot of things you are saying. The point of the health insurance is more than an important one. Mell, to your answer, it has nothing to do with being human or not. In most places in Asia, you pay first to get medical care....even if it is an emergency. This is a sad reality, but it's still one. So if you don't front the money, or do not have a cover, as Ralf does, you are a burden. In China, if you need your leg to be operated...and cannot pay...they don't let you in the street, they simply cut your leg...while it could have been save with a nice operation. That's a sad reality.

I do not make any critics on people on budget. That's not the point I was making. If an average income is less than 2 usd a day, 10 usd is not a lot. Because you are on the move, and therefore prices are not the same. A room charge for a day is not the same as the per day price you would pay to live in the same place for a year.

The point I do is share by a lot of people all around Asia where I live, and I speak of locals. If you do behave "cheaper" than the locals, you don't bring much. And this is not to make a point between being rich or poor. This is the view of a lot of the communities you do visit.

Ralf, you do have a point with a lot of the voluntering....it's all depend how it is managed.

The point is not the divide rich/poor. The point is what you bring to a community. Staying in a cheap all inclusive resort in Jamaica...bring very little to the comminuty. Do it in a very expensive all-inclusive...does not bring much more, it just create more jobs.

Now Mell, I won't agree just to put in on a political view point. Visiting countries like Myanmar, North Korea or Zimbabwe do rise that issue. I did Zimbabwe and do not regret. People there tell you...if you don't come...we will have nothing left to eat...so the point is to chose wisely your operator. For Myanmar, you can chose to stay in private places, let it be budget or not, and make some kind of difference. In North Korea, it is not possible. A lot, no...all the money you do is going to a bad governement. Should we go? I've got friend who did it...and who are doing it. Are there right...well, they are the ones that are going to speak about the place after and who could help to change it. This is why I'm very cautious to jump to conclusions.

Staying with a family does bring something. Staying in a hotel which sponsor the local school and give jobs to much of the local community may give even a bigger impact. What is important is to do it, whichever, and whatever your abilities.

Ralf, I agree that we travel the way we want, the way we can, and this is great. It's our choice and our lifestyle. It's just great to know that tourism today, in a lot of countries, is the biggest contributor to the economy and sustain a huge part of the job sector. That's the point I'm doing. We have our pleasure, this is great, but raising the level around is as good also. Reply to this

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