Our world is a wonderfully complex place with over 7 billion people and almost 7,000 different languages. We’ve come a long way since ancient times, where information was recorded on the Rosetta Stone instead of the clicks of a keyboard. And yet, many of the traditions, ceremonies and customs practices today have roots in bygone eras – from wedding ceremonies to farming practices that continue to feed rural communities.
To understand the past is to understand the present. Travel enables us to discover the world’s cultures that have been beautifully maintained from generation to generation. Whether you’re interested to hear the story of the Yeti from Sherpas in Kathmandu or watch the Apsara dance of the Khmer people – immerse yourself in the culture on a premium small group adventure.
The Incas were an ancient pastoral people originating in the highlands of Peru. They were known for farming, recording information through quipus, and their cultural ceremonies, including ritual sacrifices. Throughout the 1400’s, they grew the largest empire in pre-Colombian American history. And though this empire may be long gone, its presence endures – both in a literal sense and in the collective consciousness of Peru.
Sherpa people are an ethnic group of the high valleys of Nepal, many of whom guide trekkers through the mountains of the Himalayas. Spirituality and folklore are intrinsically tied into their everyday lives — following the practices of Tibetan Buddhism and respecting deities they believe are found in nature, including Mount Everest and Mount Makalu. Sherpas are warm and welcoming people, and even have a rule that visitors must not leave unfed or without a drink.
Berber people, also called Imazighen, are the indigenous people of North Africa. Through their history — of close to 4,000 years — their culture and identity has slowly evolved after centuries of exposure to Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Ottomans, and the French and Spanish. In their early days, they were traders in the Trans-Saharan Gold Trade – transporting gold from sub-Saharan countries to be traded for salt by Mediterranean economies. Today, most Berber people are farmers of the mountains and valleys of Morocco.
Khmer people are the predominant ethnic group in Cambodia. Throughout the 9th century, the Khmer Empire ruled modern-day Cambodia with the religious center Angkor at its capital. Today, Khmer people still place strong emphasis on their religion, which combines Theravada Buddhism with elements of indigenous ancestor-spirit worship, animism and shamanism. The majority of Khmer people today live in villages as rice farmers or fishermen.
The Maasai people are an ethnic group in Kenya and parts of Tanzania easily recognized by their red garments and colorful beaded jewelry. They live semi-nomadically by raising cattle, goats and sheep throughout parts of the reserve. The male warriors, who protect the tribe from wild animals, perform the Morani dance during cultural ceremonies which involves jumping to heights up to 8 feet in the air. The warrior who jumps the highest will have improved chances of finding love and success as the chief of his tribe.