Indagare’s COO Eliza Harris describes a rare travel moment as feeling like you have found “a unique window—when you have been lucky enough to slip in and it seems like, if you blink, it will close. Sometimes it’s when things are changing so rapidly that you know a place will be radically different in a year; that’s the feeling I had in Shanghai when I first visited in 2014 and cranes dotted the skyline. Sometimes it’s the opposite: when globalization or commercialization haven’t arrived, like the lack of American brands in Havana eight years ago. Sometimes it’s when a place is just opening up to Western tourism, like Myanmar six years ago, and you have a sense of being let in on a wonderful secret. Sometimes it occurs because of geopolitical reasons and sometimes economic or cultural ones.”
In the past year, I have been lucky to travel to five places that are poised on periods of new beginning. They are quite different in terms of what they offer, but one reason I think all of these places are so exciting is because they offer a sense of discovery. And for me, one of the best parts of travel is not being a tourist (someone who follows a beaten path with many others) but being an explorer—someone who is learning new things about the world, the people in it and themselves. This is very relevant today because overtourism is a growing problem. Many popular destinations—such as Barcelona, Florence, Venice and Amsterdam—are addressing overcrowding, which is ruining the unique characteristics of these places and destroying the quality of life for residents and the ability for visitors to feel like explorers. Finally, while I like to get off the beaten path, I am not a risk-taker; I have children and I don’t travel nor recommend travel to places that I don’t consider safe. I also recognize that comfort levels are very personal, and not everyone will feel comfortable in the same places. But I can assure that I am not a daredevil and felt completely safe in all of these destinations, and I highly recommend visiting them soon.
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