Hi! I'm Monique, a professional cultural anthropologist and travel writer
I created Trip Anthropologist for travelers like you who want to do more that just be tourists. It’s a site to inspire you about the rich cultures and millennia of history that are just waiting for you to explore when you take your next trip.
There are over 100 pages to explore some of the world’s most beautiful, fascinating and diverse peoples, cultures, ancient cities, street art, architecture and more.
Read on to learn a little more about me and why being an anthropologist gives you new eyes to see the world!
I am passionate about the advantages of travel – it can transform your life if you travel with your eyes wide open. How do I help people travel authentically? I break down and decode destinations and teach you how to look at a place ethnographically, publish content, and help plan your next itinerary.
What anthropologists know
Cultural anthropologists go to the parts on the map that says, ‘Here Be Dragons.” We go to the creases on the map. In fact, anthropologists have traveled to the furthest, far-flung parts of the world – from the Arctic to the Amazon, to the African plains. We have looked, learned, listened, and participated. And what have we learned from 150 years of finding and living with the world’s most remote peoples?
This is what we have learned:
No matter how far and how wide we travel, we return home eventually only to find that there is nowhere stranger, more different, or more unique than our own culture! And that is the value of anthropology and of authentic travel. There is no greater way to gain perspective upon both our amazing world and our own lives and selves. The prize of returning home from each incredible adventure is a new level of contentment and peace with ourselves and our own little corner of the world.
Being an Ethnographer
I have always had an insatiable curiosity about the richness and diversity of the world’s cultures and places. I love discovering new things – things that people make, build, cook, fear, and celebrate!
My travels have taken me to the remotest villages of the world as well as to its greatest global cities and ancient sites.
As an ethnographer I have lived, worked, studies and written about Burma (Myanmar) since 1994. I have written many books and articles about the country, its people, beauty, and terrible history of authoritarianism. You can check out some of these below.
Travel gives you new eyes
Have you ever had that feeling when you return home from your travel sand you know that you’ll never be quite the same again?
I once met a pony-cart driver in Myanmar who has 13 children. I was young and childless and couldn’t understand why she chose to be so poor because she had so many mouths to feed.
She looked at me with a quiet smile and fingered an imaginary necklace as she said, “Because, children are like jewels.”
There is a word in Burmese, “yadana,” that roughly translates as “to hold all of the wealth in the world in your hands.” People sometimes make a scooping gesture or mime scooping up gemstones from the earth. That’s what children mean to the people of Myanmar – all the wealth in the world condensed into their little bodies.
Authentic travel is about having experiences like my encounter with the pony-cart driver by immersing yourself in the local worlds of the people and places you visit.
It’s about taking home not just selfies or souvenirs, but memories of adventures and experience that transform you (and your relationships) and the way that you see the world and your place in it.
How can you do that? By using me as your anthropological guide you’ll know what’s going on, where and why – what to see and why it’s all so fascinating!
Anthropologists are trained to observe, to map, to have the right gear at the right time, and to be fearless and real with all of the people we meet int he field.
But travel is also about chilling out, putting yourself in a completely different zone to your normal life and coming home full of life and energy.
Travel for me always involves getting lost and becoming absorbed in things that interest me (it helps that I have absolutely no sense of direction!) You can plan and schedule your trips to an amazing degree, but if you know how and what to look for, you can remain open to all kinds of weird, one-off, spontaneous experiences that create forever memories. Take a look through the many pages of destinations, experiences and itineraries to get you inspired for your next trip!