[VoxSpace Life] Selfies, Littering, Intrusion And Everything That Is Wrong With The Present Travel Culture

Tourism Or Should We Say #WanderLust?

With go pro kits and a number of spare batteries, we are all setting out to revel in our own sense of adventure, #Wanderlust. Even though the idea of travelling to find roots of cultures, places and philosophies has been an all-time trend, the number of Tinder bios screaming ‘globetrotters’ and ‘travel freaks’ frankly seems too pretentious. The sudden interest and inclination in the practice seem to have some major drawbacks more or less affecting the community and destinations meant to harmonize the pleasure of travelling. Here’s why I feel so,

Most Of The Places Are Losing Their Charm To Tourism

Every world destination, be it a distant village, a vast desert or a lit city, has its own culture. And maintaining the sanctity of it should be a traveller’s obligation, it ends up being an ignored aspect. This unapologetic behaviour can be observed by the way some of us treat the places we visit. That is what led to the Himalayan village of Malana being shut to tourism with the growing drug abuse in the village and complete disrespect for the tribe, that otherwise had been thriving for all this time without outside interference. And so is the case with the temple town of Gokarna which is turning out to be the new Goa. With a Gokarna app already in place, the holy town is experiencing tourism at its worst with hotels playing loud psychedelic music at the town beach to attract tourists. This beach, often used by many to perform the last rites of their family, saw many drunk boarders teasing women this new year’s eve, all passed out the next day with their bottles littering the shore for the temple goers to see. And this brings me to my next concern.

A Beautiful Valley, A Selfie To Pose, And Some Litter To Leave Behind

The travel community is experiencing a complete lack of apathy towards maintaining the beauty of a place that they visit. The travel culture stems from the urge to see the unseen, explore the unexplored and hence most of these places lack the civic amenities concerning garbage disposal. So, if we are visiting a beach on the far end of the coastal range in a place like Gokarna or a distant village in the Swedish countryside or a Himalayan forest, leaving our plastic behind, it is going to stay there for a million years for the following travellers to disgust upon. And this scares me at missing out on all these great places that are getting spoilt by the time I finish writing this article.

Travel Writing: A Fading Art

The already dying practice of travel writing is being replaced by a number of Instagram travel handles. Hundreds of handles and my short attention span hardly get me excited to visit places that will prove to be a retreat. I miss reading about them. I miss visualizing every aspect of the European autumn and tropical spring through others’ descriptive narratives. With only a handful of travel writers, I feel that the art is losing to selfies in front of the Eiffel tower or Pangong Lake. The art of travel journaling, keeping that diary close to one’s heart, promotes something that is more impactful and has been celebrated for years through the worded experiences of Jack Kerouac, Jon Krakaueri and Bruce Chatwin. With every scroll through a lit New York alley and a calming Mauritian sunset and the erupting Agung of Bali, I no more feel attracted to the state of joy and spiritual metamorphosis that travelling should otherwise bring. All I’m doing is scrolling through colourful springs and mighty oceans and monkeys, lots of them, eager to traverse nowhere.

Travelling: A Cultural And Behavioural Exchange

There is also this major aspect of exchange of cultures and behaviours concerning travelling. There are a number of little girls and boys coming from conservative traditional backgrounds that through tourism get exposed to people and thus behaviours of all kinds. While many enjoy companies of travellers that have a tune or two to play on their guitars or a couple of selfies to pose in, many notice the urban ways of living, like the general habits of littering to take from. While we can learn the peaceful and organic way of living from a tropical village in India or Maldives, it shouldn’t be hard to ignore that the people there are learning something from us too. So, it is important to note one’s behaviour and conduct in these areas.

With this long rant and a hearty vent that many travellers are often seen discussing, it is important to note that nature is for all to cherish and none to spoil. If we appreciate the beauty of a place and hence pose with it, we ought to keep it that way for the others that follow. While there are some who are now involved in ecotourism and are travelling around nations to contribute their bit to the nature that they were born out of, there are many who need to rethink their ways and choices of touring for a harmonious give and take.