"Trying to make the World look smaller!" LuisGuimaraes's Profile

Me and my World

Maybe it's time for some update on my homepage..!

I'm no longer the "21 years old business/management student" I was two years ago, when I first joined VT. The World was an innocent playground for me then, though not properly used by myself. Today, things have gone a little more serious.

I am now a proud and hard-working employee of a big company, putting a lot of effort on my work and a lot of immagination into my vacation time.

Yes, I agree, 20 free days in a year are not a lot for someone who loves to travel, but then again, work is part of life, and investing in your career can never be a bad choice.

I am an avid surfer through all members' pages and have found in VT some outstanding pieces of writing and photographing, as well as a lot of people with extraordinary sensibilities and capability to put them into words.

It is the most difficult of tasks, to transform the multi-cosmic universe of feelings into language, which is only a limited set of symbolic associations. To "write well" is the most complex and, if well achieved, the most noble and rewarding of arts.

A second characteristic I REALLY praise in VT is the high ethic level of the members. Tips, forum postings, intros and emails all unveil a bunch of people with a common set of good values.

I notice - though possibly being mistaken - most members here are people with a a good ethic background, a common view on a solidary humanity and a curious interest on travelling, meeting and sharing.

My goal

I'll try to expose through my pages my view of the World, the one I know through my trips and foreign friends, and the one I'm yet to discover. Most important is to help anyone who reads something I wrote, to enjoy a bit more a trip, as I plan to do when I consult VT before departing.

My goal it is to spread respect, tolerance and curiosity among people, as I think those are big responsibilities (more than attributes) of a traveller, and, further, of a Human being.

Even in sad moments, I think how big is the World and how much there is to discover. I feel that cold in the back and look at our planet with that amazed feeling of potential adventure.

One of my goals is one day try to give a general overview of my two beloved cities:

- Lisboa (I insist on calling places their original name) where I was born and lived all my life.

- Roma, where I spent the most fantastic year of my life, as an Erasmus interchange student.

My pages

I hope to be able to transmit what I felt during travelling, into my pages.

I couldn't care less about rankings, but comments, emails and ratings are a rewarding feeling that allow you to understand that your postings, photos and stories had an, at least, slight impact on someone else's life, even if for 4 or 5 seconds of reading.

VT is my album of memories, and my storage. If I might please someone with them, then I will have spread a bit of my trips. If no one reads, at least I'll have my own personal album here.

I will never be a top-ranked VT member, because I write bigger intros than tips, but that is my way of exposing my feelings.

I am therefore astonished with the endless public birthday wishes and “thank you for visiting my page”s there are here on VT. I think these things can be said by email, leaving the “comment” area to actually comment on the page! Or is commenting a way to promote one’s own pages?

Come on guys, quit the marketing.

My home

I live in a small southern-european coutry, home of the greatest travellers of old centuries and presently a pleasentful piece of land by the sea.

Like everywhere else, Portugal has a lot to offer and a lot to learn. No country, as no person, is entirely perfect or imperfect, so I don't really like to look at my country too critically, before knowing all others well.

As this will never happen, I rather tell you what I tell myself before wondering if I'd like to visit a country, rather than another one: if I don't know any of them, I might as well choose randomly.

Come to Portugal, and you'll know how it is. Or choose another place to go.

Just go.

On travelling and making vacation

An issue then keeps my mind busy is the difference between travelling and going on vacation.

For me, there is absolutely no right or wrong style of travelling, and I think that teenage backpacking campers can have the same driving force behind a trip as retired couples on 5-star hotels.

But where there is a difference, is between going to a place to know how it is and trying to have a good time (to travel), and going to a place to have a good time, perhaps getting to know how it is (to go on a vacation).

No problem on someone enjoying a resort for 1 month and flying back home, while local population starves 1 km ahead, but please don't call that travelling.

Travelling is to know how people live in a place, how the social dynamics work, how architecture is a mirror of the past and the present. Of course, it also - but not only - is to explore natural wonders, like a beach with blue waters.

What's in question is the artificiality of an experience, that is to have a luxury life in a country where luxury isn't even a word on the dictionary. That would be making a vacation.

I obviously believe that one can visit an under-developed country with comfortable conditions, because sleeping on a good hotel and eating well still alows you to get to know a poor country. But making where to sleep and what to eat too much of an issue, keeps you away from the focus of travelling.

On genuinity

This leads me to my last concern, which is Genuinity.

With the development of tourism and its industry, many countries have seen in tourism a way of developing, thus abandoning their traditional economic activities in order to prepare themselves to receive people.

The single fact of being prepared to receive spoils the genuinity of a place, because locals will then be trying their best to please the visitor, which includes, very often, to make them see the best of their countries, without that being the most genuine part of them.

So it happens that you arrive, for example, in San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of the driest desert on Earth, and you can order a Lasagna or a hamburger in every corner.

As fun as they might be, "backpacker paradises" are modern-days hippie-resorts.

When I go visit a country, I don't care how many people were there before me and how many will come after, but I really love it when - with the exception of natural parks - I can feel that I'm in a place where my being there is not the most important thing for whoever lives there.

Today, with the massification of travelling - or else, abroad holiday-making - more and more places begin depending on tourism and thus, mutate into (allow me the metaphor) urban guesthouses, losing their originality and surrendering to the tastes of visitors.

This banalises travelling and formats unique places into a single standard, allowing places far away from each other to look so similarly, just because they want to please a certain "western" taste.

That's why I like big cities so much: they might do their best to please tourists, but they're big enough to keep their genuinity, their driving-line, their leitmotiv, built by centuries of the daily life battles of their million inhabitants.

On finally shutting up

So you survived my monologue!

Know, then, that I had it all written when Internet connection broke down and I had to write it all over again!

Know also, that all this was written under the repeated audition of "Maps" by the "Yeah Yeah Yeahs", which played about 40 times.

  • Intro Updated May 31, 2009
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Comments (72)

  • kahnjetta's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Happy Birthday Luis! Best wishes on your special day.

  • toemayn's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    Hope your birthday is filled with all the fun you can handle!

  • Tamilynn_1972's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    It has been a longggggggggg time Luis. How are you? As you can see, I have relocated to Verbier, Switzerland and am now enjoying mtn life. And you??

  • planxty's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2010 at 2:48 AM

    Hello Luis, thanks for the very kind comments. I am in Lao now and may well return to Burma soon. Post any questions and I will try to answer them when I can. Regards, fergy.

  • a2lopes's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2009 at 7:42 AM

    Feliz Aniversário Luis e com muitos "regressos" a 16 de Maio. O dia do santo patrono dos viajantes... PS: não vens aqui há algum tempo...presumo que não estás a par do Euromeeting aqui por "casa"... seria giro ver-te por cá também. Cheers

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2008 at 12:47 PM

    Feliz Aniversario!

  • Bokhari76's Profile Photo
    May 16, 2008 at 3:21 AM

    Happy Birthday Luis.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2008 at 8:20 AM

    i hope you enjoy sydney - it has a special vibe

  • ValbyDK's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2008 at 1:04 AM

    Hi Luis. Thx for your comment about my Ulaan Bataar intro photo. I also like it with the old house in front, the newer in the middle and the mountains as background. Happy travels / Klaus

  • MM212's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2008 at 6:24 AM

    Thanks for stopping by. Cairo is extremely rich in architectural heritage. I hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

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