In the wilderness and combat, camouflage (crypsis) is used to be visually concealed by matching the patterns of the immediate background. For urban camouflage as a foreigner, mimesis is the way. Instead of remaining hidden from view, the purpose is to mimic a lifestyle.
Urban camouflage is about blending in with the people and culture. Wilderness camouflage is about blending into the nature and physical surroundings.
So it’s not about being unseen but to be seen yet go unnoticed within a collective of a city. The secondary objective is to not stick out in a crowd.
The primary objective is to be like the local people of a foreign country – to look and act like them.
Being perceived as a local is advantageous to looking like an outsider whether as a traveler or expat;
-You’ll feel more relaxed and welcome.
-You’ll less likely be disrespected.
-You’ll get better reception and help.
-You’ll less likely be scrutinized.
The concept of urban camouflage is effective regardless of how culturally or genetically different (with exceptions) you may be from a host country.
It’s a matter of observing then imitating.
Most humans do this anyways as part of our on-going development, but in a subtle and unconscious way. Taking in bits of interesting or fitting aspects of the people around us and utilizing it to our own character.
Doing this on an active and instantly adaptive way while in a new country is how to master urban camouflage.
Urban camouflage is more than a means to be a more efficient and effective traveler, it gives us a unique and profound perspective into cultures.
[The featured photo was taken with a Hitcase equipped iPhone.]