How to find inspiration and see the world guilt free
Summer is ending. That season in which we browse Instagram for feed, looking at beautiful tourist destinations our acquaintances go to, or if we’re a little more fortunate, the season most like Christmas for us adults: where at last the day comes in which we post the out of office notice and leave everything to go In search of a new city.
Vacations are what makes carrying our office ID credential with pride in the food court or the daily special menu next to the office worthwhile. They are without a doubt, paradise in life. The time to live with no worries, to award yourself, to see with our own eyes that which we had imagined so many times.
But as with everything in life, there is a side that isn´t so bright in all this. All of us who have had the opportunity of being in a highly touristic location know the tricks we have to pull in order to avoid the 154 tourists who are trying to take the same photograph as you and ruin your meticulous shot. Whether It be standing in line for the Eiffel Tower, the Del Prado Museum in Madrid; Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca or the Trevi Fountain in Rome, the amount of people inevitably reminds you of the subway congestions at home, obviously with a much prettier backdrop.
These articles(1, 2) refer to the real estate bubble that Aribnb is causing in several cities, especially in Spain. This other one(3) refers to the excess of tourism in a particular European city: Dubrovnik. I particularly have seen 4 people I know go to this city in the last 4 months (which is nothing more and nothing less than the city where King’s Landing from Game of Thrones was filmed).
The amount of souvenir shops in European capitals is becoming ridiculous. Not to speak of thealready famous photograph (4) at the top of the congested Everest, that took the lives of at least a couple of people that day.
All in all we are beginning to make the cities we love so much invisible for their inhabitants. So, should we stop travelling? Should we include travelling on the long guilt list that comes with this modern age? Yes and no…at least a little. The truth is that we are not going to stop. We are the generation that may not have clear political inclinations, but we are very clear on wanting to travel and we proudly bear the motto “experiences are worth more than possessions”.
Especially when working in creative industries where inspiration is not only desired but necessary, it seems that googling tendencies or references is not enough. We want to go out and see them. Touch them with our own hands, we want to go to museums, taste the dishes from the Netflix specials. We want to talk to people from other nationalities, exchange ideas; know what bars smell like in other cities, what the colors are like in real life.
A first interesting alternative is expanding the list of tourist locations we visit and not stay focused on the usual cities. Or if you do go to the usual cities, try to avoid the “tourist traps”. Look for alternative tours, find out a little more about the place you are going to. For example, Paris didthis(5) to draw the tourists away from the usual tourist sites and redirect them to other points that could be of interest.
It would be a good idea to open our eyes and cross expectation with reality, or simply be prepared and think about whether we want to fertilize the phenomenon (a photograph here(6) of how the Trevi fountain is filled with people). Or look at the pictures of a place on Instagram and suspect of those locations in which all the photos are shot from the same angle (for example, a photograph hereof how the Giza Pyramids really look).
Another alternative is sustainable tourism. Although at first glance this does not tell us anything new (don’t print your tickets, turn off the lights in your lodgings; share it with more people, use sustainable transportation, etc.). In reality realizing the phenomenon of excessive tourism is a great first step. Opening our eyes to this avalanche of negative consequences can generate and motivate us all to begin thinking about alternatives. Had you thought about it? Are you willing to change your travel habits? We want to hear from you, because we love to travel and we are as worried as you are.