Article: Seeing Cuba with fresh eyes

My biggest revelation however was undoubtedly having my own eyes opened by the non-sighted travellers to fresh ways of experiencing a destination.

Starting with a hoary old chestnut about how and by whom Cuban cigars are rolled, Mark Stratton in Telegraph Travel quickly introduces us to a fresh way of travelling:  Being someone else’s eyes.

Mark Stratton went to Cuba with Traveleyes, a company that pairs blind people with sighted travellers who act as their guides, providing assistance and also describing the surroundings.  

Stratton found that his own observations became more acute as he stopped for longer to observe, notice and describe.  He was also surprised at how much of the experience he shared with his travel companion through the other senses and that his companion’s insights gave him a different perspective on appreciating and experiencing the things around him.  

Travelling alone is often considered a virtue and is one of Paul Theroux’s three basic rules of traveling.  Others, such as Alain de Botton, suggest that solo travel may be preferable so that our responses to places are not affected by those we are with or because we are likely to be more receptive to our surroundings when travelling alone and socialise more instead of withdrawing into the comfort of companionship. 

However, Stratton’s article is a thought-provoking piece about how we react to places and the mutual benefits of having a travelling companion whose different perspective or observations can enhance our own experience. 

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