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Is the world becoming more vanilla?
Old 04-19-2015, 08:39 AM   #1
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Is the world becoming more vanilla?

I've travel quite a bit over the years and it seems more and more lately many of the larger towns and cities around the world are starting to look and feel the same. Unless I travel to the smaller villages where there are still some of the more unique characteristics of that country I am becoming less interested in travel. I am also less interested in many of the tourist attractions home and abroad which have become more cheesy as time goes on.

Anyone having similar experiences?

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Old 04-19-2015, 08:54 AM   #2
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I agree, but there are still many historical sites and beautiful sites of nature to visit. Visiting many of them does require putting up with tourism headaches, but being retired allows some flexibility to avoid the crowds.
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:06 PM   #3
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Is it possible you are simply more discerning as a result of having cumulative travel experience under your belt? Perhaps it's not so much that the world has changed, but that you have?

When I start to lose the sense of wonder something enjoyable used to deliver, I know it's time to think about taking a break. The thrill often ends up returning, and I'm able to return to the activity with a renewed sense of excitement or enjoyment. Or it doesn't, and I turn my attentions elsewhere.
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:29 PM   #4
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Come to New Orleans. The people here are as squirrely as ever. Me included, of course. The historic section is still full of very old buildings that haven't been replaced by new bland structures.

I don't especially like travel, because I feel like I've BTDT a million times over as a kid and never really felt like I had a definite home with a local culture that I was part of and fully understood. Right now, I'd rather have a place to be from, a hometown, instead of just bopping around the world for the remainder of my life. Ah, to feel confident when people innocently ask, "Where are you from?" I'd love that. But anyway, there are still strange non-bland places here and there.

Edited to add: Maybe the reason I can see the strangeness in places is that it is impossible for me to bring my home along with me, in my head? I don't know but that just occurred to me that maybe that is what's going on for you.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:18 PM   #5
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I'm an international traveler. In fact, just the other day I drove from Detroit to Windsor and thought to myself, "Geez, this place looks about the same as America".
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:55 PM   #6
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We simply make a deliberate point of going where it isn't 'vanilla'. We just got back from a week in Umbria - nothing like that exists in the USA.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:11 PM   #7
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I wouldn't call it vanilla, I'd call it GlobalMegaCorp.


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Old 04-19-2015, 07:21 PM   #8
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:25 PM   #9
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I find the fact that nearly everyone in the large cities in Western Europe speaks excellent English depressing. It was far more interesting in the "old days" struggling through the language (and currency, for that matter) issues. It made things really feel "foreign." Now, not so much. Of course it also doesn't help that there are Starbucks and McDonalds everywhere, too.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:40 PM   #10
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I went to Berlin last year. It was a fascinating trip but it is a modern cosmopolitan city and resembles the experience of being in Paris or NYC in many ways. I felt it was cosmopolitan back in the late 90's when I first visited that city. This summer I'm headed for Bangkok. I expect to see a city in transition. Plus I'll head out to the countryside for a side trip.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:20 PM   #11
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I know what you mean. We were a little underwhelmed by our vacation to Canada last summer. As DW succinctly put it, "It looks just like the US without Mexican food". We admittedly cut our trip short and only spent 1 day in Quebec City and never made it to Ottawa.

This summer we're spending 7 weeks in Mexico and hope to see quite a bit outside the ordinary. Yeah, we'll be spending 3 nights in Cancun in the hotel zone but otherwise it'll be a good taste of different.

Most of what appeals to me are historic (old) cities, ruins, natural wonders, vistas, different plants and animals, the different way things are done elsewhere. We're not really into the typical tourist stuff either.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:41 PM   #12
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I don't find it to be all the same - especially the food. If you get off the beaten path, eat where the locals eat, shop where the locals shop, it's very different than a vacation which centers around corporate hotels, tourist oriented restaurants, etc.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marita40 View Post
I find the fact that nearly everyone in the large cities in Western Europe speaks excellent English depressing. It was far more interesting in the "old days" struggling through the language (and currency, for that matter) issues. It made things really feel "foreign." Now, not so much. Of course it also doesn't help that there are Starbucks and McDonalds everywhere, too.
I am just the opposite. I love visiting and seeing new places but always found the language hassles a problem. I am awful at learning new languages and, given the rare opportunities to practice, have never become even marginally proficient in any despite courses and practice at home. I love the fact that English has become the world language. Yeah, things are a bit vanilla but still interesting and fun and it is nice to be able to communicate. I would love to be multilingual but don't see any realistic path to it.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:02 AM   #14
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I don't travel internationally anymore but when I did up until about 2010, there were definitely differences in international destinations. Cultures, customs, languages, architectures, food, weather, people, etc. (Most high end hotels were similar, although some of the best I have ever seen were in Asia)

Even in the US, I still see big differences between cities and states. One thing I do find in common in the big cities are rude and impatient people.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:24 AM   #15
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I went to Berlin last year. It was a fascinating trip but it is a modern cosmopolitan city and resembles the experience of being in Paris or NYC in many ways.
Very interesting -- I found Berlin to be very different from Paris (and I enjoyed them both).

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I don't find it to be all the same - especially the food. If you get off the beaten path, eat where the locals eat, shop where the locals shop, it's very different than a vacation which centers around corporate hotels, tourist oriented restaurants, etc.
+1

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I know what you mean. We were a little underwhelmed by our vacation to Canada last summer. As DW succinctly put it, "It looks just like the US without Mexican food". We admittedly cut our trip short and only spent 1 day in Quebec City and never made it to Ottawa.
Hey Canada is the 51st state :-)
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:19 PM   #16
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I think if your travel is "limited" to city hopping, yeah, a lot of them look and feel similar. Certainly, there are unique things about each individual city that make them different, but it's tough to say whether Tokyo is better than Singapore is better than Dubai is better than NYC is better than Sydney is better than Brussels. But most of them have their own unique flavor, food, music, etc., so from that stand point, no I don't think it's "vanilla."

My most recent adventure overseas with my wife was Adelaide (AU) - Sydney (AU) - Fiji. All three very different places; all three awesome in their own ways. Having done a lot of travel to a lot of cities including all of those listed above and others (Doha, Perth, Madrid, Rome), what makes them unique is the history and the culture. In the middle east - Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Manama - those cities are all very much the same to me excepting scale, but totally different than Tokyo or Singapore or other Asian cities from totally different cultures.

I think if you limit your travel over a particular period to a particular continent or overall cultural set (i.e. all Middle East, or all European) the lines can really start to blur and maybe seem "vanilla", but I feel fortunate to at least have been exposed to so many other cultures and cities to see that there are massive differences between them so that I hope to never get bored with travel.

Two top "next adventures" for me are Florence, IT and a Rhine river cruise.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:40 PM   #17
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Hey Canada is the 51st state :-)
We ended up in Quebec province, where apparently they don't want to speak English unlike most of the lower 48. I got to practice my really really bad French at least. Even bought a new set of tires up there.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:15 PM   #18
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I've travel quite a bit over the years and it seems more and more lately many of the larger towns and cities around the world are starting to look and feel the same. Unless I travel to the smaller villages where there are still some of the more unique characteristics of that country I am becoming less interested in travel. I am also less interested in many of the tourist attractions home and abroad which have become more cheesy as time goes on.

Anyone having similar experiences?

Cheers!
I'm curious what are the "larger towns and cities around the world" that you visited which looked and felt the same to you? I've traveled quite a bit, as well. However much of it has been by bicycle, which means I am more likely to pass through villages than big cities. But I also have visited several cities in the past 15 months, and they all still seemed quite distinct to me. In the past 15 months, I've visited Mexico City, New York, Paris, and Bogota. Those 4 huge cities did not seem the least bit homogenized to me, and the smaller towns I visited, even less so. However, American cities are generally becoming homogenized, and suburban USA, even more so.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:25 PM   #19
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I like going into McDonald's wherever we end up. There was a cool one in Buenos Aires that was 3 stories. 3 stories. I've never seen more than 2 stories prior to that (once in Uruguay, once in NYC). We regaled our children for weeks with tales of this 3 story McDonald's. And tales of the dulce de leche ice cream cones.
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:38 PM   #20
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I don't find Europe to be anything like the USA.
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