The Ritual Tourist

An essay I wrote appears in the current issue (September/October 2010) of Afar. The magazine is relatively new – this issue marks its first anniversary – and dedicates itself to telling stories of unexpected and ‘genuine’ travel. It is a great magazine to read and I am happy for the opportunity to write for them.

My story, titled “Ritual Tourist,” discusses the joy of traveling among believers and the unique experience of engaging in rituals of faiths one does not necessarily believe in. I am not religious, but religion and ritual fascinate me. In this essay I try to understand the reasons why.

In addition to my essay, the issue features a story about the Nigerian film industry (“Nollywood”), modern Istanbul revealed through the work of the city’s most beloved Ottoman architect, and an essay on eating local in Croatia. That last story is my favourite. The author, Mark Bittman, shows how in Croatia, the locavore movement is not a movement at all. No one brags about eating vegetables you grew and animals you knew. It is, simply, how things are done.

Afar can be found on better newsstands.