This is a decent question, and one I haven’t really thought about. At the same time I would probably answer yes to the question “are you an indie traveler?” so I really should think about it.
Let’s think about the word indie. It’s short for independent or independence. If you think about indie movies, music, etc, it denotes independence from big corporations, and something that’s not ‘mainstream.’
But it’s more than just that – there’s a particular style to things that we call indie. Indie things are typically what I’d call ‘artsy’ and also they usually try to be unique. Often it seems like more thought is put into indie things and they sometimes require more thought from you as the consumer.
So how about indie travel? Along the same lines, I think we can say indie travel is travel that in some way goes against the mainstream, works independently of major corporations, and is maybe done with more thought than other types of travel.
I don’t mean to say that to be an indie traveler you have to shun things like package tours and cruises. Maybe you go on package tours but you pick the ones that give you a better insight into the culture of a place. Perhaps you like cruising but you don’t go on every shore excursion, opting instead to explore on your own.
I think indie travel isn’t a specific way to travel, but a broader mindset. You’re an indie traveler if you sometimes think and act outside the box. You like to get a glimpse of how the locals live and you like to eat local food at least some of the time. Mostly, I think to be an indie traveler you have to reflect on your travels. You have to be open-minded and have a desire to learn about the world.
By this definition I’m definitely an indie traveler. I travel to eat new foods and discover new cultures. Studying anthropology made me incredibly curious about how other people live. I think by traveling and reflecting on it, being an indie traveler in other words, we can become better world citizens.