Travel Briefings

Freely Travel Briefing: Issue No.51

If you’ve been hankering to chow down on some palusami (baked coconut cream with taro leaves) on a palm-fringed beach, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Samoa has finally given us a reopening date. As well as getting this latest news straight from PM Fiame Naomi Mataafa’s mouth, we’ll be heading into the mountains of Turkish Kurdistan to marvel at the powerful melodies of the dengbêj or singing storytellers. We’ll also be learning about the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation, and will turn to our mothers and grandmothers to connect to our heritage through cooking. As always, do tag us in any recipes you whip up and upload to the ‘gram! 👩🏾🍳


Dengbêj: The Singing Storytellers of Kurdistan

Photo by: Dûrzan Cîrano

Kurdistan sprawls across Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, with its people among the most persecuted minorities of our time.

“Dengbêj has been like our newspaper … We didn’t have television, so we say that the dengbêj will speak for us and tell our story.” Dengbêj is the Kurdish name for a singing storyteller, as well as the word for the loud and lilting genre of music that often centres on resistance, suffering, love and war. Kurdistan sprawls across Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, with its people among the most persecuted minorities of our time. Until 1991, speaking and writing in Kurdish was illegal in Turkey, with dengbêj subject to torture and harassment. Though the situation has since improved, tensions between Kurds and Turks are still rife, and in this mini doco, we get a window into a moving and important tradition that serves to keep Kurdish culture and history alive. 🎶

Full piece and doco: Meshakai Wolf and Greg Scarborough for Jungles in Paris


Samoa to Reopen to Travellers from August

Photo by: Beautiful Samoa

The news comes in line with an easing of COVID restrictions across the Polynesian nation.

Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa has just announced that her country’s borders will open to international travellers from the 1st of August! The news comes in line with an easing of COVID restrictions across the Polynesian nation, including the removal of the 11pm to 6am curfew and the reopening of schools. As of May 22, all booking reservations will be handed back to airline companies and travel agents – meaning we can lock in our next tropical trip in just two days. 🤩

Full piece: The Government of Samoa for Newswires

Recipes From Our Mothers and Grandmothers

Photo by: CDC

There’s something so special about connecting to your ancestors through the recipes they have handed down.

There’s something so special about tapping into your cultural heritage in the kitchen and connecting to your ancestors through the recipes they have handed down. In this lovely piece, a very multicultural collection of cooking enthusiasts share their favourite dishes from their mothers and grandmothers. From Welsh scones stuffed with dried fruit and Cuban corn and guava caketo Sri Lankan egg curry, it’s a culinary whirlwind that will take you to every corner of the globe! Our fave so far has been the Maltese ricotta pie, but we’re barely even halfway down the list…

Full piece: SBS Food

What defines cultural appropriation?

Photo by: Ian Macharia


“Knowledge matters.”

While cultural appreciation happens when a person seeks to learn about and understand another culture, cultural appropriation occurs when someone takes an aspect of another culture and uses it for their own personal gain. Knowledge matters,” writes Bel Jacobs. “How many festivalgoers are aware that Native American headdresses are made from eagle feathers, symbolic of the Great Spirit, only gifted to wearers when they have done something of note for the community?” Not only that, but often, the originators of the cultural traditions that get embraced today were once persecuted for them – from bindis to cornrows. It can be a fine line, sure, but as travellers, we want to ensure we aren’t exploiting the cultures we claim to care for, so found this discussion very rousing.

Full piece: Bel Jacobs for the BBC

AROUND THE WORLD


If you’ve ever harboured dreams of staying in the Moulin Rouge overnight – the Parisian dancehall that’s home to an illustrious cabaret, made even more famous by the Baz Luhrmann film – its historic red windmill will be up for rent on Airbnb for just three overnight stays. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? The answer is oui oui! 💃🏾
Also in Airbnb news, the company has just majorly overhauled the way we can book stays. Now, there are categories (ranging from ‘OMG’ to ‘campsites’), as well as split stays for long-term guests and AirCover.
On a flight from the Bahamas to Florida in the US last week, the pilot had a medical emergency. “My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane,” came the voice of a passenger Darren Harrison in a call to air traffic control. “Roger,” came the response. “What’s your position?” The passenger replied that they had no idea nor any flying experience, and was then instructed to “maintain wings level” and to “just try to follow the coast, either north or southbound” while crews located the plane. Ultimately, there was a very happy ending, and the controllers were able to direct Darren to land the plane safely! Phewf.

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