By Nicholas Kinloch, published 2nd August 2013

Perhaps I should start by saying what impels me to visit remote places, and that means saying what I'm not. I'm not an anthropologist: I have attempted to read anthropological texts, and confess to finding them amazingly dull when compared with what they're attempting to describe. There are exceptions: Piers Vitebsky's fine account of his experiences amongst the Eveny of Siberia, The Reindeer People [2005], comes to mind; but exceptions they are. So although I do a fair amount of reading before I visit traditional communities, I don't think I could dignify it with the term research.

Nor am I - using even the most generous interpretation - an historian. I've read and taught history for most of my life, but I don't think this is enough to qualify. I am interested in the past, and like most people with such an interest, I think I do bring what you might call an extra dimension to the places I visit. As to whether it's really travel, there's a lot of debate about what exactly constitutes a traveller. It's a debate largely fuelled by fear that one might be mistaken for a tourist. I don't spend too much time worrying about this. I always liked Paul Fussell's observation that he was...

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