Travel Off the Beaten Path in Japan

Let’s NOT Go Back to ‘Normal’

When I visited the Louvre 30 years ago, there were about 30 older Japanese women standing in front of the Mona Lisa, which gave me pause for thought. If the scene was recreated in the Harry Potter universe, the rest of the paintings would be saying, “What am I, chopped liver?” The scene seemed neither natural nor optimal. Fast forward to 2019 and the situation had become dire.

Photo Credit: Elliott Verdier for The New York Times
Photo Credit: Elliott Verdier for The New York Times

Please read the article accompanying this photo from just before the pandemic.

If we continue to overexploit our global tourism resources like this, it will not only lead to the further commodification of the most beautiful and sacred places on earth, it will eventually lead to the destruction of what we so desperately desire to see before we die. But there is another way.

My most memorable experiences have resulted from veering off the well-trodden path. That’s why I am a firm advocate of what I like to refer to as B-side travel. If you are over a certain age, you’ll know that the B-side of a 45 rpm vinyl record was rarely as well received as the hit single on the A-side. However, if you consider the B-side of many Beatles 45s, for example, you’ll encounter a formidable anthology of classic tunes:

  • Baby, You’re a Rich Man

  • I Am the Walrus

  • Revolution

  • Rain

  • The Inner Light

Simply put, the Beatles would not be the Beatles without these songs!

As a tourist, if you only visit the ‘hit singles’, you will probably have a suboptimal experience. If you go to Venice, the crowds are enormous, the restaurants are not all that great because they don’t need repeat customers, and to top it all off, the locals resent the loss of their community to a tourist invasion that distorts the local economy. The list goes on and on.

When I visited Egypt some years ago, I saw many of its hit singles. However, the one image that stays with me is the morning I woke up in a quaint village far outside Cairo. I stepped outside into a vast field of chamomile that was just beginning to open to the sun. This glorious experience convinced me that I was missing far too much as I tried to fit in all the hit singles around the world. I decided then and there that I needed to change the way I travel.

As a B-Side Travel Advocate, it is my mission to deliver rare experiences that cannot be easily replicated. Join me for tailor-made, small group excursions in Japan. I currently offer winery, whisky distillery, and sake brewery tours; in-depth tours of one-of-a-kind museums; tours of historic temples and shrines; and hiking excursions to discover ancient villages hidden among forested mountains. If you are the kind of person who enjoys the B-side of travel, places that normally get overlooked by crowded tour buses, you have come to the right place. Please search my blog to plan a B-side vacation for yourself.

Begin your adventures off the beaten path by booking a night in my Airbnb property.

Copyright ©  David Ellis | All Rights Reserved

Featured image provided by Pixabay