Since the 1960s West Europe and the USA have experienced great economic growth. Many people could afford to make long trips, partly because the prices for intercontinental flights remained almost the same for years. In addition, life in the most interesting countries is more economical. It is especially this last point which makes it possible for travelers with a limited budget to be able to stay away from home for a longer time.
Due to this, since the “sixties” there is an increasing phenomenon in the travel world; the backpacker, or backpack tourist. There must be millions of them on the road…These backpackers are especially interested in the matchless natural monuments and the colorful cultures of other peoples. They eat and sleep in shelters which can be found amidst the vibrant life of the area and they take the time to enjoy the local atmosphere.
A special group of backpackers, whom we call ‘reli-travelers’, are interested in exotic religions, among which Buddhism and the Hindu philosophy score the highest. These are reflections of life which connect readily to the western world’s growing New Age ideas. The holy sites of these religions have been enjoying a growing stream of western seekers since the time of the Beatles. But post-modern people within the religious traditions of the western world are also finding connections with these religions. One example is the immensely popular pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.