Sunday, July 29, 2012

Real Americans?

I went on an excursion with my Medieval History class this past weekend to Wales.  When we were at the Caernarfon Castle in Northern Wales, a little girl ran up to me and two other students and asked if we were American.  I said yes and she begged us to wait there for a minute.  When she came back she had her two siblings with her.  Her brother asked, "You're American?!  Real Americans?!"  We laughed, and I replied that yes, we were real Americans.  After a few minutes of talking to the kids we parted ways, but it made me realize that although there were a large amount of tourists in the area, none were American.

I started considering why there were not more Americans around and I realized that before this class I had never heard of Edward I and all the castles he had built in his conquest of Wales.  The sites we saw were the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen, and castles that were absolutely amazing.  We saw a total of five castles on our excursion, and I just don't understand why they are not bigger tourists destinations.  I am not sure if there is a nearby airport, but to me these castles were hidden treasures almost.  Do you think the media is involved in our travel choices?  I definitely think so after this weekend.  Travel magazines and commercials almost agenda set for certain places.  We always here about Paris, Cancun, and the Bahamas,but what about all the other places?  I am glad Dr. Archer took me somewhere I would have otherwise never been incited to go because of lack of knowledge and media coverage. 


  1. I definitely agree that the media promote certain cities and areas as ideal travel destinations. They present these "must see" places to such an extent that I personally feel like if I do not visit these glorified cities at some point in my life, then I am missing out on something really significant. Another consequence of extensive media promotion of these destinations is that it in turn makes these cities and areas very commercialized, making the traveling experience more "touristy" and less authentic.

  2. I think it works both ways. The media does highlight certain cities, but there are some cities that are so well known that the media almost has to continue to perpetuate the hype surrounding them. Can you imagine if a travel magazine ignored Paris? I was talking to my friend, and he told me about something called "Paris Syndrome." Japanese people are especially susceptible, and it occurs when Paris, which is idealized in their culture, doesn't turn out to be nearly as glamorous as anticipated. It's a legitimate psychological condition which shocked me. Maybe as we become journalists we can agenda set by featuring lesser known destinations, but I don't think we'll ever escape the idealization of certain cities.