I’m in several travel groups, friends with plenty of folks who’ve recently gotten that infamous travel bug bite, and I’m starting to notice something:
Too many people are talking more about the traveling than they are about the places. They’re bragging about their ability to get to these places and the amenities that come with it and not talking enough about the cultures, the foods, the warmth, the welcoming, the people.
Are you traveling for the likes or for your sanity? There is no wrong answer here. Hell, validation is what many people are in search of, so you wouldn’t be alone if you chose “the likes.” But perhaps you could simply go stand in front of a green screen and superimpose yourself around the world instead of spending thousands on a trip that will benefit you or that country in no way. Ahhh…but fools do love expensive things, just to be like “you ain’t up on this.”
Why are all your photos selfies? Why were you there for a week and the only photos you have are of your face?
You’re becoming “that person.” Don’t be that person. Be someone else. Perhaps try being the person who comes home with stories of how well you were treated by the people, and how it’s a great place for solo women travelers. Maybe you can be the person to convince mothers that their children won’t end up in a ditch in East Africa or headless on a Mexican beach.
Don’t be that person who talks loudly and unprovoked about the amount you spend on clothes for the day and nightlife for your location, the airport lounges reserved only for the Flight Supremacists, the $200 upgrade you purchased for a 3-hour flight, and the 5-star hotel you reserved on points, but need to be asked about the actual town, village, beach, or city you visited and the people in them.
When I ask you for a list of things to do in those cities, “stunt on Instagram for the hoes back home,” shouldn’t be the only thing there.
I’m (maybe: we’re) tired of it.
Don’t be that person.
Travel for exploration and discovery sake. Not for the likes.
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.