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I am a cultural purist and I couldn’t agree with the result more!

Jessica Grange

Trainee, Executive Communications, Amadeus IT Group

When the Future Traveler Tribes 2030 report was released, I couldn’t wait to learn all about the six emerging traveler tribes, and more importantly, find out where I fit in! As I was taking the quiz I had an epiphany – I already knew which tribe I belonged to – the Cultural Purist. Here’s how my experiences growing up shaped me into identifying with this tribe.

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From a young age I was always encouraged to try new things. I travelled a lot and always welcomed new cultures however extreme the traditions were. I learned to clip sheep at the age of 8, I discovered the art of de-horning #8226s at the age of 12, I attended an Indian wedding when I was 16 (which lasted for 7 days) and even tried Armadillo when I was 19 (apparently it’s a delicacy in parts of Patagonia!)

Before deciding whether or not University would be for me, I chose to take a year out to travel and explore the world on my own. Some places were certainly more remote than others!

After spending another summer working on my ‘family’s’ ranch in Montana and living the wild wild west lifestyle of cowboys on country back roads, Friday night rodeos, bucking broncos and cattle roundups, I headed down to Argentina. After 11 hours on a plane and another 20 hours on a bus – I arrived in a little pueblo of Southern Patagonia called El Huecú.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by the ranch owner and taken to the winter ‘estancia’ – a good 3 hour horse ride away. If comfort and luxury are your requirements, I suggest you don’t visit the estancia… Electricity was scarce, human company non-existent and if you wanted food – you had to catch it first! Oh, and if you wanted hot water for a nice shower, you had to be prepared to make a fire and wait 1 hour for your water to boil or brave the ice cold mountain water (which in winter, is never too pleasant… but refreshing nonetheless!)

That’s the way the gauchos live. It’s simple. They work long hours in the sun; fencing, branding, vaccinating and herding and they don’t stop until a job is fully executed. They use food as fuel for the system and believe that only through hard work and determination can you earn the luxury of a feast-like meal, a full night sleep or a proper mattress to rest on.

horse riding

But even with all this hard work they find the time to have fun and relax. Drinking, dancing and singing is their favorite hobby after a long summer day. And although the singing and dancing is of great taste, the luke-warm boxed wine that fizzles in your mouth is not…. But that doesn’t matter when you can experience the lifestyle of a true gaucho. And that is what I did for 4 months. I showered in the river (fully dressed to save time on hand-washing my clothes later on…) I found a million ways to cook potatoes (one of the things we had in abundance! Actually, the ONLY thing we had at all!) I rode bareback in the lake and learned how to fish with an old tin can, (I was rubbish at it but that didn’t stop me!) I slept under the stars knowing that jaguars could sometimes pay us a visit (they never did but I sound so much cooler saying they could have!) and learned the ins and outs of the gaucho culture: I ate what they ate and did what they did, I learned their tricks and techniques, how to fence or build a safe ‘tent’ to sleep in and how to use my knife for just about anything!  I miss the place every day and would go back in a heartbeat!

horse jumping

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