Don't get me wrong - I love travelling. I love immersing myself in the different and mysterious, dipping my toes into waters so unfamiliar they are almost incomprehensible.
And this has taken me to places which the western world labels as 'poor.' Let's get the definition out of the way first: by 'poor' I mean not only people who don't have enough to eat, or shoes for their feet, but also access to education and basic health care (such as antibiotics) that can keep them alive in an emergency.
Poverty is not a lifestyle choice. Poor people do not walk without shoes because they have some romantic notion about being in contact with the earth. They do not eat insects with any ethical objection to a side of beef. Nor does poverty prevent them being creative, kind, intelligent people - and many have welcomed me into their homes with a generosity that is truly humbling.
But - having returned from Cuba, where I was more aware of tour groups than in any other country I've visited, I am beginning to question the ethics of tourist interactions with local people when those people are truly poor.
I've watched as tour groups peered through doorways where a mother was breastfeeding her baby, a pot boiling on a small fire in the corner and bed roll stacked in the corner. I've watched as tour groups go into orphanages and gawp at classrooms and dormitories, and applaud as the children sing their little songs. In Cuba I visited a cigar factory (as many tourists do) and saw rows of men and women sorting leaves, rolling cigars, the air thick with tobacco dust. I was not allowed to speak to them - they had work to do. They performed for me, with less enthusiasm than an animal in a circus.
I like to think I'm a traveller and not a tourist. That I don't come to observe but to engage with people on a more meaningful level - a level on which we can learn from each other.
But as I begin to wonder where to go next, it occurs to me that my sort of travelling is getting more difficult. The big tour companies promise luxuries; they ferry groups from one site to another; and the travel agencies in poor countries - understandably - respond by providing just that. The wealthy and well-shod are taken from village to school to factory where they nod and maybe leave a tip or two but come away with nothing more than a little dust on their shoes.
And the people they visit - where is their dignity? They are paraded because they are poor. That they are also men, women and children with dreams is irrelevant.