What's the deal with people from India?

Eh, poor choice of words by G. Cornelius, I think. Try replacing “real world” with “rest of the world” and what he said seems less objectionable, at least to me. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if your average American knew more about the rest of the world, and travel can help.

But, just to keep this thread in GQ: is it actually true that Americans don’t travel to other countries as much as Brits, Ozzies, and the like? Can anyone google up some statistics on this?

Eh, poor choice of words by G. Cornelius, I think. Try replacing “real world” with “rest of the world” and what he said seems less objectionable, at least to me. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if your average American knew more about the rest of the world, and travel can help.

But, just to keep this thread in GQ: is it actually true that Americans don’t travel to other countries as much as Brits, Ozzies, and the like? Can anyone google up some statistics on this?

I absolutely intend to. But I want to get visiting everywhere in my own country out of the way first. I had a goal of “50 by 50” (fifty states by the time I’m 50 years old). I’m turning 42 and have 4 states to go, so I fully intend to make my goal.

My next goal is “10 by 10” (ten countries in Europe by 2010).
I’ll worry about the other contenents after that.

Isosleepy and the rest of America,

Well, didn’t mean to offend any one. I have been to the USA many times and I lived in New Jersey for almost 6 months. I have had a good chance to explore on both coasts and there is still much that I would like to see: I am sure that one could travel for a lifetime in North America and never tire of it. I will be in Canada this winter.

Of course, I have only a visitor’s view of America, and I never got to see the middle states at all. But I would say that the cultural differences might be compared to those between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales or perhaps European countries in general. It certainly cannot be compared to the differences between countries on different continents (or sub-continents).

I stand by my claim that one meets disproportionately few Americans abroad and, although I take the point about short holidays for Americans, I don’t think holiday lengths can account for it. I have met Americans abroad who express embarrassment about their countrymen’s unwillingness to travel to exotic locations. I don’t know the actual statistics, but I think I am right in believing that surprisingly few Americans have a passport. Whereas, in America I would say that most people have a pretty sensible and balanced worldview, there are a significant number who just don’t want to know.

Travel broadens the mind. I am quite sure that my travels have affected my worldview and improved my understanding no-end.

I firmly believe that America is a force for good in the world. America is a powerful country, but if it is to use that power wisely its leaders, and therefore those who elect them, must strive to understand and engage with the whole world on as personal a level as possible.

America and her citizens are certainly misunderstood abroad. Most people in the world have never met an American, for them America is seen through Hollywood coloured spectacles. Most envy, some hate, very few even begin to understand. But it could be very different; if more Americans travelled to more difficult-to-reach places, more of the world could claim to have met and liked an American and even to have called him/her a friend. In such a world the events of last September would be very much less likely.

But surely many US states and European countries are practically identical - especially in the US. Sure, there’s a lot of difference, but it’s nothing compared to the difference between, say, Japan and Egypt. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot, and I love the US, but I just don’t think you’re really enlarging your world view by just sticking to it.

Uh… seeing as this is completely off the topic, I’ll end it now.

Americans travelling in their own nation is perfectly understandable. The Unites States is huge (though not as big as Canada, heh-heh) so one could travel extensively within its borders, see a great many interesting things, and never have a problem with language or currency. The northeastern Americans can pop over the Canadian border into Quebec if they want to see French culture without running the risk of encountering snooty Parisians (please do, we can use the tourism income). I don’t have statistics handy, but if it turns out a high percentage of American vacation travelers stay within the U.s., that’s hardly a reason to look down on them.

I don’t know about that. I didn’t really notice until I went abroad, but even among other White People it’s usually pretty easy to tell who’s “your people” and who isn’t, whether it’s by skin tone, facial features, hairstyle or clothing. Though I suppose they don’t stand out in a crowd quite so much.

Translation … I’m going to inject some good ol’ fashioned America-bashing in this thread about Indian tourists.

You guys never take a break, do you? :rolleyes:

American society includes a wide range of experience, wealth, and cultural attitudes. There is an educated, mobile middle class that is likely to have gone abroad at some point or another, either as students or as retirees. There are more affluent types who may go abroad several times in their lives. There are Indian immigrants and their children, who spend much of their disposable income on making trips back to India. There are those who live near the Mexican border who make frequent trips.

There are also people who don’t have the money to spend, who don’t have the cultural experience that makes one more likely to take long trips. Also consider that for the average American, a trip to Europe or Asia or Africa or Australia is very expensive. Americans have very little vacation time and day-to-day expenses like university tuition, health care, and transportation (in the sense that public transportation is not available to most people) are much more expensive in America than elsewhere.

Other countries are far away from America, and that physical distance also creates a psychological distance.

Going back to the OP, I have found that most Indians usually travel to places where they already know someone. Those Indian tourists you see all over America are likely to be using a relative’s residence as a home base for their travels.

As long as we’re drifting off topic, here are a few other reasons I can see why Europeans would be more prone to travel abroad than Americans:

First, European countries are puny and all clumped together. For you it’s no big deal to travel to another country (you can practically swim the English channel, after all); once you’ve gotten used to crossing that initial threshold, it’s all that much easier to head to another continent.

Second, Europeans have been hearing about one another, sharing one another’s “high” culture, making fun of one another, etc. for centuries. In a sense, you’re all too familiar with each other, which helps make the rest of the world more attractive as tourism destinations.

Third, because of your history colonial exploits in other continents, you have a very different relationship with the cultural exotica of the world than do Americans. Personally, I suspect this has a lot to do with the British attraction to India today.

Fourth, now that your days of colonial and national glory are gone, and with all those immigrants from your former colonies pouring in, you’re suffering from a loss of national identity. So what do you do? You go on a soul-searching backpacking expedition to someplace exotic.

And as for Australians, they’re just trying to shake off their complex about having been a penal colony. By travelling abroad, they’re symbolically try to show themselves (and the rest of us) that they’re no longer just a bunch of rejects from Britain. :wink:

Just curious, but how have you “found” this?

Okay, not “found” in a scientific method or legal sense. “Found” in the “please find enclosed” sense.

India’s middle-class has indeed been cited as being larger than the population of the United States, or at least comparable. This may be exaggerated. One estimate in 1999 cited the group at ~300 million and growing. But other studies seem to indicate that a figure of half that may be more accurate. Still, as many as 40 million were considered upper-middle-class who made the Puchasing Power Parity equivalent of $600,000 a year ( note, that means they made enough in rupees to have the purchasing power in India of someone who made $600,000 in the U.S. ). Add in another 6 million of the very wealthy and you have a large traveling class, even if these numbers are a little skewed.

  • Tamerlane

I think that the indians are starting to come out of their lethargy and start to travel to the high traffic tourist areas of america. What i think is bad, and remember I love india very much , but i do not understand why they hate gotebo, oklahoma so much. the people of gotebo, oklahoma think that the people of india are very strange, and cannot tell of the great love in their own hearts because no one from india visits them very much. the good people of india seem to love chicago and new york very much, but they give the impression that they hate gotebo, and only want to visit america so that they can party, and instead of have their minds opened by sharing their experiences with the people of the heartland. also, dewey, oklahoma has the tom mix museum…do the other countries of the world think that tom mix was so evil that they do not want to see his museum? do they not care that this was a good man who wanted only good for his family and in this manner has so much in common with the rest of humanity, and they despise his life and his hometown? this is the kind of misunderstandings that take place when no one from india visits these very lovely oklahoma towns.

Wow. That was like watching a David Lynch short film.

As for this hijacked thread, I would love to travel but Europe is simply too expensive. Not all Americans are rich.

I’m a wannabe tourist, and as soon as I have enough money, I’m going to make my first trip to the US to see what the big fuss is all about! I agree with handsomeharry though - its bad that we Indian tourists only go to Chicago and New York and the like. I’m going to change that - I’ll be the first Indian in Gotebo, Oklahoma.

And for the record, we don’t hate Gotebo and other heartland places - we just didn’t know about the tom mix musuem!

Its also true that most Indians tourists in the US have some kind of family connection there - or at the least, a friend. For the rest, the US is just too far away. If the average American finds it expensive to go to Europe, think about how it would be for the average Indian!! But, Hayduke Lives!! , its NOT a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

You know, this OP’s observation about the number of Indians travelling of late is exactly what I thought about Russians when I did a lot of travelling. In 1992, 93, 94 - I hardly ever bumped into a Russian, and then suddenly in every airport there were Russians on the move. I’m assuming this was due to government changes etc, making overseas travel more possible. Maybe something like this has just happened in India?

In an indirect way, sure. I mean, we could always travel wherever we wanted (except to South Africa in the old Apartheid days), but most people didn’t really have the kind of money needed to be able to holiday anywhere outside the country. Over the last ten years though, the government has allowed MNC’s to open shop in India (old left wing policies finally died out - now we can eat a McDonald burger and drink Coke!! Yay.). This has lead to more jobs, higher wages, and therfore more spending power (remember the HUGE middle class that everybody in the world wants to satisfy/con?!). Which is why you now see more Indians abroad than before. Basically more Indians with more money.

This would largely be due to having many, many places to go and not enough to bring us to each one. Such is life.

Actually, its just the Mob. :wink:

Actually, part of what caused the events of last bloody September, if you ask the people who perpetrated them, was Americans travelling to more difficult-to-reach places. Like Saudi Arabia. Or Israel. There are, it seems, a great many people who would prefer that we filthy infidels stay right over here on our continent. Luckily, they’re a minority, but they are out there nonetheless.