4 Travel Destinations to Immerse Yourself in Fixing Culture
One of the best things about travelling is discovering new and exciting ways to do the things you love. As fixers, makers, tinkerers and menders, there are so many wonderful places where creative repair is a part of daily life. If you're looking for a holiday to inspire creativity and help combat our throwaway culture, check out these fascinating fixing destinations.
The world of Jugaad in India
The word jugaad is used in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. Roughly translated it means hack or making the most out of what you have to get the best result. Jugaad inspires all kinds of mindboggling inventions that achieve incredible things with very little resources. The word refers to a resourceful mindset and can be used to describe anything from repair to the creation of medical devices. Even the simple act of tucking a mobile phone into a turban in place of a hands-free device when riding a bike is an example of jugaad. If you want to see just how effective jugaad can be, watch this short video of an inventor and 140 of his genius solutions.
The creative repairs of Kenya
If necessity is the mother of invention, then the Kenyan practice of jua kali is a perfect example. The literal translation of the word is fierce sun because its practitioners operate on the ferociously hot streets of Kenya. These self-taught fixers (known as jau kalis) can repair almost anything. Sounds familiar!
Jua kali grew out of the fact that the Kenyan economy struggles to provide enough jobs for the entire population. So people have to learn new skillsets and hone their expertise.
There’s a wonderful sense of community among the jau kalis who freely share tools and resources to support each other. And there’s not much their ingenuity and resourcefulness can't fix. From traditional electronic repairs to patching up leaking cars with soap, even mending old flip-flops, the spirit of optimism is in every fix.
The art of beautiful repair in Japan
The Japanese art of Kintsugi teaches us that repairs are something we should celebrate, not hide. In Kintsugi, repairs are often created with powdered gold to display the work proudly. It is so popular that many believe collectors deliberately break valuable pottery to prompt the fix. This ancient art, which is thought to have started in the 15th century, still captures the imagination of tourists and locals alike.
The classic cars of Cuba
Cuba is a classic car lover’s dream, with the streets filled with motor fanatics tinkering away at pristine American automobiles from the 1940s and 1950s. The cars are often family heirlooms, cherished from generation to generation.
Since the US embargo made replacement parts difficult to find, Cubans became incredibly adept at DIY repairs, even creating makeshift replacement parts and tools from scratch. Their ability to keep these cars running for as long as they have is a testament to carefully thinking about saving, rather than replacing. It’s a glorious sight to see the streets lined with these beautiful classics cars so lovingly displayed. And it shows just how valuable it can be to make the things we have last and last.