Archive for July, 2010

Travel Tip: Go Light

Posted on: July 28th, 2010 | No Comments

Flashlights are turning up in everything these days so it is always a good idea to have something that provides light.  Power outages are so common in many countries that it is always a good idea to have one handy if you’re going to an area with little or no electricity.  Neverest’s Essential Journey’s Kit contains a hand-powered flashlight, no batteries needed, so you’ll always be ready.

Great Travel Quote

Posted on: July 22nd, 2010 | No Comments

“Adventure is a path.  Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world.  The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it.  Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness.  In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both.  This will change you.  Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

More Signs You’re Traveling Too Much

Posted on: July 15th, 2010 | No Comments

Building on our post from last November, here’s another half-dozen signs you might be traveling too much or for too long.

  1. Your favorite cafe is located in an international airport.
  2. You just finished depressing a volunteer caller from the Red Cross for the sixth time this year who reluctantly agreed that you are not eligible to donate blood because you just got back from <fill in malarial region here>.
  3. You have more antibiotics in you than a cow undergoing concentrated feeding.
  4. You are repeatedly frustrated by spending inordinate amounts of time trying to arrange calls and IM chats between places like London, Delhi, Nairobi and New York.
  5. Your primary residence can no longer squeeze that cool wooden mask from Congo, the elephant figurine from Thailand and the rug from Afghanistan.
  6. You realize that you just used cheers, karibu, Insh’Allah or namaste in casual conversation despite the fact that you are neither English, Kenyan, Arab or Indian.

Traveling Names for Westerners/Foreigners

Posted on: July 4th, 2010 | No Comments

Independence Day is as good as time as any to think about what it means to be “foreign.”  The terms here are often concepts in that they originated with one meaning and have since evolved into broader terms such as any “tourist.”  Some, like the Japanese gaijin, encapsulate an entire concept and way of defining the “other.”  In practice, an interesting challenge is presented when the word originally meant “European foreigner” and now people of different races are from what were once thought to be “white” countries.  Also, the intonation or who these terms are used is important and so the same term can be one of respect or derision based on the tone in which it is delivered. 

Name Location(s) Used Possible Etymology
Muzungu Swahili speaking areas of East Africa Swahili worded borrowed from Arabic
Umlungu Zulu speaking areas of Southern Africa Zulu word meaning “people who practice magic”
Gwailo Southern China but now really just Hong Kong (because of the massive migration of Mandarin and other speakers) Cantonese word for “westerner” from “white ghost” because of the appearance and travel patterns of Western sailors
Gaijin Japan A combination of “outside” “and person”
Gringo All over Latin America Probably from the Spanish word griego for “Greek” with a cognitive meaning of confusing or foreign
Ferenghi All over Muslim “world” from Africa through the Middle East with variations found in South and South East Asia and as far as Oceania Thought to be a corruption of “franc” after those people who controlled Europe during the “Dark Ages”

 You may also hear bwana (in East Africa) or sahib (in the Indian Sub-continent), from the words “father” and “master” respectively but nowadays these are just terms of respect meaning “sir” or “ma’am.”