50 Odd Things to do in a Heritage Site (and other places) Many are the people and much is the time they spend being bombastically guided through ancient ruins, monuments, sites of historical significance, museums and the vast et cetera that the experience of tourism is both heir to and fraught with. And yet, when one finally finds oneself on a tourist-like tour, one finds far too rare the moments of gawk-worthy wonder, whilst far too vast the hours of boredom and fatigue.

Counter-Tourism: 50 Odd Things to do in a Heritage Site (and other places) is a brilliantly playful guidebook for those who wish to depart from the far too beaten track and take themselves to happier places within. It’s the exact size that one would expect from a guidebook. It is artistically formatted, colorfully printed, glossily covered, and filled with enticingly vivid, oft humorous prose – precisely as one would hope were one looking for a finger-friendly pocket guide to accompany and inform one on a journey to and from somewhere of greater loveliness or richer past.

I exemplify with one of the many conceptual Counter-Tourism tactics found within the pages of your pocked guide, to wit:

Tactic 31:

Visit gift shops as if they were museums.

The accompanying Counter-Tourism site is replete with examples of its own. I give you one such, in its actual and entertainingly empowering video format: TACTIC: Interpret a site like a dream.

Further enlightened tactics for the playful tourist are generously available online, but neither as conveniently nor as portably as the Counter-Tourism pocketbook itself – which explains the marketing cunning of the generous online availability.

Allow me to depart from witticism for the nonce. I needs must gush.

This little book is a gateway to fun. It gives you license that you never thought you needed to enjoy your next vacation or museum visit or tour through a neighbor’s home. I mean, enjoy, have fun, find delight. It is a gift. A gift you should give to yourself, recommend to anyone who is about to tour something, suggest to every travel agent in your known universe. The author, Phil Smith (a.k. apparently a. the “Crab Man”) is a genius at reframing the world so that you can experience it as the playground it truly is. Counter-Tourism is a doorway to more fun than you thought possible. Deep fun, even.


  1. Nathan Bawden on August 28, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Why should history be so serious? Think about it seriously and we are doomed to attract and repeat it, right? I love the thought of examining history from the point of view of “how was that fun right now?” … yes!

  2. Lily on August 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    This is such a cute idea. It reminds me a little of “101 things to do in Walmart”.

    I once set out to do all of them, but some of them are quite rude (for example #1), but some of them are all-out hilarious or fun, such as # 6,12,13 and 98.

    Just goes to show that anything can end up being fun. 😀

    I was recently on holidays, and while riding in the van (36 hours of driving in one week, and that doesn’t include the 6 hours on trains and buses), I amused myself by taking random pictures of road signs (although many of them ended up being pictures of rocks or trees, since I missed a lot). For some reason, it was hilarious. Not really sure why.

    Love and laughter,

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