I believe that travelling is what you make it: some travel to finally see with their own eyes all the iconic sites and scenery that they've learned about; some travel to simply get away and be in a completely foreign environment, in order to get back refreshed and energised; some do to enjoy new cuisines, fashion, languages etc; it could be a combination of many and of course there are millions of other reasons why one takes themselves to a new place. All will be experiences that are very real to the traveller as they are going somewhere to satisfy a want - they can be good or bad, however definitely, well, real.
People that want the "real thing" on their holiday, I gotta say are either lazy or ignorant. What is supposed to be real - non-touristy? What the locals do? Something mind-blowing that hardly anyone knows of? Whatever you want it to be, anywhere in the world there would be plenty of it. You need to look, ask, do research, embrace. But most importantly, you need to be very open-minded and accept the fact that "real" does not always mean "the most exciting time of your life". I guess it can be, but if you're that kind of person that will make your travels the time of your life, you wouldn't sit around waiting for the "real thing" to happen.
Put it this way: what would be the real thing you'd want someone to experience when they come to your own town? Now if the question was "what would you recommend them to experience" it would be a different thing, but since you find things on your own trips quite unreal, we'll be just as picky with your answers. So you live in Sydney: Opera House, Harbour Bridge - isn't that super touristy? Having breakfast at your favourite cafe - can't I do that back home? Go to a rugby game - I've been to crazier things, like the World Cup (hypothetically). Throw some kangaroo on the barbie - but I thought locals don't really eat much kangaroo? Go to the pub - isn't the pub English anyway?
So you see, real is very subjective - only you can decide what the real thing is. And as it was mentioned in the article, it's less of a thing, but rather a whole authentic experience. Whether you decide you want to do what the locals do, see things that don't exist anywhere else in the world, or eat yourself through your destinations, so be it. However, the richer you want your experience to be, the more you have to talk to different people, the more you have to read, and above all the more you have to be prepared that not every single thing will be crazy cool and super fun. Just because someone says it's their absolute favourite it doesn't have to be yours too; moreover, in your "real" daily life, not everything is perfect either, is it? However, it'll be very real, very authentic; it'll be things you happen to experience, learn and understand about the destination rather than something choreographed by someone that believes this is what you should see. Actually, that may very much be something that other travellers would want to see - you just have to be smart enough to know what you want.
What does travelling mean to you? What kind of expectations do you have when you go on a trip and how do you prepare for it? Do you think it's a bit of a "first world problem" to complain about not seeing the real thing on holidays while we should consider ourselves really lucky to have the opportunity to see different parts of this rich beautiful world? Would love to hear from you guys - you can actually log in via Facebook to leave a comment, it's that easy :)
My T, with night time Pretty Beach behind him