The world is diverse and spectacular place not just because of the majestic natural landscapes and made-made mega-structures that can be found all in all corners of the globe, but equally because of the fascinating communities and cultures that operate within it. The world’s most spectacular locations would be nothing without the populations that thrive in and around them, the unique mannerisms, behaviours and beliefs that they harbour say as much about a country, region, or city as the place itself.
National differences are often celebrated, the different languages and dialects we use, the different food we eat, clothes we wear and values we uphold, but if we are to look at a country in more detail, we find communities, and communities within communities, and it is only when we look at a granular level that we find some of the most fascinating groups of people.
Here are five of the most interesting communities from around the world;
The Amish are a Christian community based primarily in Pennsylvania in the US.A who are famous for shunning the encroachment of technology in their daily lives. When we hear the world ‘technology’, most of us will likely think of iPhones and Facebook, but the Amish are far more restrictive. Preferring to live life as if it were still the 1800s, the Amish get around using horse and cart instead of cars.
The Amish population in the states has been growing steadily over the past eighty years or so and now stands at just under a quarter of a million. Different Amish communities uphold different ideologies and values, but generally, children are not educated past the eighth grade. This, and other issues such as the reluctance to pay tax can often create rifts with the wider public.
Nomads are known for having no permanent settlement, and offer a remarkable window into how life would have been lived by early humans. The most widely accepted definition of the word outlines a community that moves from place to place, living off the land and moving livestock around with them.
Nomads live all over the world but are most common in the middle east and the far-east, particularly in the vast open planes of Mongolia and Tibet, they temporarily settle in small groups, settings up yurts (tents) within which they use as a base. There are many different types of nomads including hunter gatherers, pastoral nomads and peripatetic nomads (commonly referred to as gypsies in the UK).
Inuits, sometimes referred to as Eskimos (although this term is increasingly considered to be archaic) are oddly defined by the climate of their habitat. Indigenous of arctic regions of Canada and the USA, as well as costal regions of Greenland. Inuits have their own language, culture and set of beliefs.
A much misunderstood and stereotyped group, it is believed by many westerners that Inuits all live in igloos, and while this is by no means a myth, there are areas of residential infrastructure, particularly in Greenland. Inuits hunt to feed themselves, with a diet consisting mainly of whales, polar bears, seals and caribou. Interesting, it’s been noted that Inuits have an excellent level of health despite the lack of carbohydrates and plant food in their diet.
Monks are known for being devoutly religious, admired the world over for their restrained, tranquil mannerisms and way of life. Most prevalent in Tibet, China, Buddhist monks are also common in Nepal, India and Bhutan. One of Buddhism early exponents was the Dali Lamma, a figure held in high regard as a great philosopher not just by Buddhists, but all over the globe.
The route to becoming a Buddhist Monk is a long one, and it is possible to be Buddhist without being a monk, the commitment to become a monk is serious one however, as monks live a life dominated by prayer, meditation and study. Buddhist monks are also sworn into a life of celibacy.
Joe is a travel blogger who is lucky to have experienced some of these communities first hand. He hopes to meet more fascinating people when he stays in Rome holidays next month! You can follow him on Twitter @backpack_joe