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Aongus Mui

The Tourist Gaze by John Urry

The Tourist Gaze
John Urry

Progym: Narrative

As a person who travels multiple times in a year, I have seen some truly amazing views. A couple of summers ago my family and I vacationed to The Dominican Republic. We left our house while it was still dark out to catch an early flight. The weather in Boston was beginning to cool down towards the end of summer. When we arrived in Dominican I remember the humid air and warmth of the blazing sun. We stayed in a beach side hotel, I will never forget the view at the right hours. I would wake up earlier than normal to try and catch the sunrise. It was an unforgettable view, there weren’t many people because of how early it was, giving me a clear view of the sunrise with almost no distractions. It was the perfect time to lose my worries and just gaze at the picture perfect landscape. The bright golden rays of the sun, white sand, and the sound of crashing waves made it all feel like a dream. It was quite a challenge to not get lost in the moment.

After a day passed I started to notice that just seeing a photogenic view was not good enough. I wanted to explore The Dominican Republic, outside of the beaches. On day five of the trip we took a tour to the middle of the island. Although the view was nowhere as close to the one from my hotel room, I enjoyed it ten times more. The common city smell, and the locals made it more real for me. I got to try local food and get indulged in the culture. This is one of the main things that I took from the vacation, it’s not always about the scenic views or getting the perfect picture. It was more about learning about the traditions of the place and truly getting the full experience.

John Urry advises us to not only go to the known locations but we should enjoy every aspect of travel, and all the little things that come with it. One of the things that stood out from Urry’s writing is that he advises us to take the time to just enjoy where we are, scenic or not. I chose to write a narrative on how I related to some of Urry’s points For instance, Urry covers what is “suitable” for the “tourist gaze.” My personal answer to that would be everything, from the nature of the destination to the more urban section. The “tourist gaze” is a matter of perspective, it differs for each person depending on what they find intriguing.

One reply on “The Tourist Gaze by John Urry”

Aongus, The narrative is some of your best writing yet. To improve, however, even though no major event need occur in a narrative (in fact, in this case, it’s pleasant that not much seems to happen, and maybe that’s the point), I think you could give the story more resonance by relating it more directly to the tourist gaze. The story itself doesn’t do much to illustrate Urry’s idea of the gaze. For instance, Urry describes “the gaze” as a form of consumption–a way of seeing the world for the individual pleasure. So, for example, you might use your story to explain how the tourist gaze had prepared you to appreciate the perfect white sand beaches, but that in the end you appreciated the imperfect inland even more because it was a more authentic experience.

And maybe then too it’s worth considering that supposed “authenticity” is precisely what the modern tourist most wants to consume….

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