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What is a “real” world tour? Story of an endless debate

The definition of a “real” world tour reveals above all conflicts of values ​​between travelers.

When a young woman broke the world speed record, the backpackers [backpackers, tourists who travel with a backpack, shouted inauthenticity, scam, footage of mouth. The culprit: Cassie Pecol, a 27-year-old American. His crime: having visited all sovereign countries in just a year and a half.

Many travel enthusiasts felt that his way of traveling was not the right one. They calculated that she had spent an average of two days in each country and therefore probably had learned nothing about the cultures of the natives. Others considered that it was “not in the trip but in personal promotion” or even in “consumption of the trip”. She has also been criticized for receiving external funding.

For those who spend a lot of time on forums dedicated to travelers, this kind of criticism is not surprising. Backpackers often skip over good or bad travel practices. And the most intense debate remains that of the real “TDM” (round the world in backpacker language). The question remains unsolvable: who really has the right to claim to be a “world traveler”?

The real-world tour: go through all the longitude lines

To get everyone to agree, we would have to look to the origin of the world tour. “The first place in the XVI the century. It is about circumnavigations, therefore literally navigations around the world, and the objective is to recognize coasts, continents, the main cities, to set up commercial circuits “, explains Sylvain Venayre, travel historian.

“For some and some, it is necessary to pass all the lines of longitude, for others it is necessary to pass the line for changing dates, or even the crossing of the Equator.”

The towers of the world made by tourists, hand guides appear in the second half of the XIX the century: the first tour was operated by Cook in 1872. A year later published The World in four -twenty days, by Jules Verne. This book marks a whole generation, who dreams of beating the same feat as Phileas Fogg.


In France, it was in 1878 that the first “package trip” was organized around the world. A trip that the geographer Lionel Gauthier was able to describe based on the photos and stories of the participants, which he dissected as we would follow today a travel blogger. “At the time, it’s a bit like now: everyone has their own definition of going around the world. For some and some, it is necessary to pass all the lines of longitude, for others it is inevitably to cross the line of change of dates, or even the crossing of the Equator, explains the geographer.

According to him, the essence of the world tour remains to start from a point and return there by the other side. “In the XIX the century is necessarily exceptional. Today, with airplanes, there is an ease of travel that can be problematic for those advocating an authentic trip around the world, ”he suggests. Therefore backpackers of the XXI th century insist even more on criteria that would validate the experience CT: go through a minimum number of countries and spend minimal time on site.

What you need to know

As you wander through certain cities in France, the architecture will remind you of that of Old Montreal or Old Quebec. Despite this, expect to see different backdrops in this country where regional cultures are varied.

Even if several European countries have the reputation of being small in terms of their territory, this is not the case of France. Museums, restaurants, monuments, parks, vineyards, castles, cities, and villages have something to keep you occupied in perpetuity. Ask a travel consultant which regions of France are best suited to the type of stay you are looking for and go on a road trip!

Flavors and local culture

Since in France the official language is French, French-speaking Canadians are warmly welcomed. In addition, speaking the language, there is no doubt that communication will be greatly facilitated. They will be happy to tell you about the corners of the country and tell you some anecdotes.

The departments of France are very different from each other and each region likes to tease its neighbors on the origin of a dish or on its accent. On this subject, do not take it badly if one insists on your speaking French. Most find it charming!

A paradise for curious travelers

Do you want to know more about medieval culture, the Second World War, great painters, or cheese production? Participate in the harvest, ski, or surf? Or sleep in an abbey, a castle or on a boat? France has a lot to teach you about its wide range of museums, agrotourism activities, and historic monuments. In a group or solo, you will never be bored in France!


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