I’d like to respond to a comment I’m seeing a lot, which is people asking what I’m going to do about the problem other than complain. Well, that’s why I decided to get this blog back up and running – to try and create something that looked like a potential solution. I want to build a blog that’s committed to keeping it real, promoting responsible travel, and digging a little deeper than the pretty surfaces (and occasionally talking about politics because WE GIVE A SHIT), as well as featuring those better bloggers, lifting up the voices of underrepresented travelers through our Voices of Travel series, and publishing work on destinations that is written by people who live there through our Like a Local series. If you’d like to contribute, here is our call for submissions.
ANYONE can quit their job and travel the world, EVERYONE should quit their job and travel the world, and yet travel bloggers are all starting to look and sound like the same wealthy, thin white person. Am I missing something here?
I’ve always felt more than a little uncomfortable scrolling through dime a dozen travel blogs and Instagram accounts, including my own. Eventually, I realized why: travel bloggers are annoying as hell.
Disclaimer: Before you get defensive, I am a travel blogger. I quit my job to travel the world, more than once. I’ve been traveling full-time for 4 years now and working as a freelance writer for almost that long. The things I’m about to call out, well, I’ve done them before too. Most of us have.
Real talk, I think it’s time we all sat down in a circle (on the internet) and had a real conversation about the state of travel blogging, Instagramming, and travel culture in general.
I’m tired of the profiles filled with nothing but perfectly curated photos of “impromptu” picnics, perfectly spotless luxury hotel rooms, and selfies of girls in full makeup and prom dresses standing on Macchu Picchu. #youdidnoteatthat #youdidnotsleepthere It’s fake, and I know it’s detrimental to people’s self-esteem when they don’t realize the work and money that goes into these (often branded, professional) shoots. (Have you seen Ingrid Goes West yet?! Do it.) I’m tired of travel bloggers selling bullshit “You Can Quit Your Job and Travel Too!” e-courses that brush off their privileges and ignore the reality that no, not everyone can do this.
I’m tired of travel accounts that are 100% about aesthetics but don’t provide any real info about the place or even the location the photo was taken. How are 100 photos of a girl walking in front of a generic colorful wall with no geotag really “travel blogging”? How does that help someone take their first solo trip or navigate a foreign country safely? As leading travel influencer Adventurous Kate writes in “On Influence, and Using it Wisely,” it’s unhelpful at best and downright dangerous at worst. I’m tired of the #doitforthegram mentality…it’s fun once in a while, but when the value of destinations is judged by how insta-friendly they are, it leaves out some very worthwhile but not so pretty places while overcrowding and destroying others. When I watch people go to sacred sites just to snap 1,000 selfies and leave, not even taking a single moment to breathe in the air, process where they are, and look at the place through the lens of their own eyes…it’s too much.