Thank you! Reality tourism means new perspectives, in general, and on Silicon Valley in particular
You can actually learn a lot by trying out reality tourism in Silicon Valley for a week. Prior to the trip I have travelled quite a bit, but never as a reality tourist and never to Silicon Valley. One week is still a limited amount of time, but I am certain that I have learned more during this week than I would have on a month of regular tourism. You get to know the mentality, how people live and work, their cultural uniqueness and routines.
One of the things that strike me the most is the similarity between the people of Silicon Valley and mallards. When swimming, they seem to gracefully flow forward, but beneath the surface they actually paddle as hell. It is an unusual combination of calm softness and rock hard competition.
Sometimes Silicon Valley feels more like Sweden than the rest of the United States. People are not as prone to conflicts as in the rest of the US. People here are slim and healthy. But in some ways the Valley is – of course – incredibly American, the car dependency is one such example. It is very hard to get around Silicon Valley without a car.
I have also gained a better picture of what Silicon Valley actually is at a more fundamental level. Many people that arrive here wonder where the “valley” is when they actually are in the middle of it. The location and its boundaries are not as clearly defined as might be expected beforehand.
People in Silicon Valley really take care of themselves. Most people work out and no one smokes. This may create some anxiety for people that do not lead a perfect life themselves. A big chunk of the people who live here are also very well off; the Valley is one of America’s wealthiest areas. If you have got a decent work situation, and do not have an unreasonable commute to make everyday, Silicon Valley is the perfect place to live. I could really imagine myself living here – something I feel more sure to say due to my experience as a reality tourist.
After trying out reality tourism with Lufthansa, I am certain that I will try it again, on another location. As a former bar tender, working at a local bar during an evening might be a good way of getting to know a location more in depth. It will also be exciting to see however reality tourism will develop into a more popular way of travelling. Personally I believe this way to travel is the way of the future – especially for experienced travellers that may renew their wanderlust through reality tourism. People need new perspectives, and reality tourism provides them with that, in the purest form.
But now, I must say as Lufthansa’s flight attendants – “Bye bye and aufwiedersehen!”.