Declarations of the Anti-Tourist

Thanks to Daniel Kalder, who captured these tenets and wrote a book about them. I am currently enjoying this book.  I’ve scratched the surface of some of these tenets in past journeys, and am interested in applying them in the future.  I’m particularly in agreement with the sentiment about the banality of the Great Destinations.  It’s all been seen, it’s all been done… what more is there to experience?  Am I really going to go a huge amount of time and expense to wait in line to see a fossilized moment in human history, one that is managed and fossilized and irrelevant?  I’m sorry, but I’d rather go and do things, instead of see things.  This is why I don’t like to spend my time on the ‘must-see’ things of a certain place- odds are, we’ve already seen the representation and a facsimile of the object in question.  But that’s just me.  So!  Offered without further comment:

From THE SHYMKENT DECLARATIONS

(Excerpts from the resolutions passed at the first international congress of Anti- Tourists
at the Shymkent Hotel, Shymkent, Kazakhstan, October 1999)

As the world has become smaller so its wonders have diminished. There is nothing
amazing about the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, or the Pyramids of Egypt. They
are as banal and familiar as the face of a Cornflakes Packet.

Consequently the true unknown frontiers lie elsewhere.

The duty of the traveller therefore is to open up new zones of experience. In our over
explored world these must of necessity be wastelands, black holes, and grim urban
blackspots: all the places which, ordinarily, people choose to avoid.

The only true voyagers, therefore, are anti- tourists. Following this logic we declare that:

The anti-tourist does not visit places that are in any way desirable.

The anti-tourist eschews comfort.

The anti-tourist embraces hunger and hallucinations and shit hotels.

The anti-tourist seeks locked doors and demolished buildings.

The anti-tourist scorns the bluster and bravado of the daredevil, who attempts to penetrate danger zones such as Afghanistan. The only thing that lies behind this is vanity and a desire to brag.

The anti-tourist travels at the wrong time of year.

The anti-tourist prefers dead things to living ones.

The anti-tourist is humble and seeks invisibility.

The anti-tourist is interested only in hidden histories, in delightful obscurities, in bad art.

The anti-tourist believes beauty is in the street.

The anti-tourist holds that whatever travel does, it rarely broadens the mind.

The anti-tourist values disorientation over enlightenment.

The anti-tourist loves truth, but he is also partial to lies. Especially his own.

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2 thoughts on “Declarations of the Anti-Tourist

    • Haha, precisely! To me it looks like what would happen if Ed Abbey sat down with Guy Debord and some of the old Situationists and didn’t leave the pub until the whiskey and cigs were all gone…

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