For travelers it is difficult to untangle from the contradictions of tourism, colonialism, and inequality.
Many travelers still seek solitude among the tourists, the luxury to communicate personally with the ruins. They long to leave their minds on idle, while they enter the vista before them, undisturbed by the other souls striving for the same illusion. I often feel this contradiction of being alone with others when I travel.
There have been two songs constantly on the radio at the beach in Italy this summer. The first, Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” (“Today I don’t feel like doing anything”), is so annoying that it makes you want to do something, anything, as long as it is violent.
“Machu Picchu,” my friend said, “I hitchhiked there from California in 1971. When we made our way to the site, it was deserted so we camped the night among the ruins.” Her description is vastly different from my own experience this month when I hiked there with my two sons, a nephew and a friend.