I'm editorially cranky. This doesn't mean that I have perfect grammar or I never make a typo, but I am hugely impatient with a handful of ubiquitous travel publishing sins, made up words, fake philosophical arguments, and marketing ploys. More and more, I feel myself reaching for a virtual red pen to mark up the travelsphere (see, that's a fake word right there, I get the irony) in order to correct some of these travesties. Below, seven things that Drive Me Crazy when it comes to travel on the web.
Flashpacker: A term designed to describe the deeper pockets backpacker, the kind with an expensive camera and a netbook tucked into their pack. As opposed to the more minimal kind of backpacker with an expensive pack and a Goretex jacket and an expensive camera but no netbook? Fake distinction and an annoying made up word
I'm not a tourist, I'm a [fill in the blank]. Unless you're a local -- expat or otherwise -- you're a freaking tourist. Get over yourself. You can be a jerk who pretends you've got some kind of secret invisibility powers or you can own up to being an outsider and embrace it. What's wrong with taking a bus tour to get to know a place, with asking stupid questions to break the ice with locals, or buying wacky cliched souvenirs just for the amusement factor? Nothing. Enjoy yourself, quit judging other travelers, and lighten up. Locals can't tell that you're not a tourist so who are you making this distinction for? Just so you don't think I'm completely off the rails, I will accept visitor, guest, or "I'm here on business."
Homeless: If you have a place to go where someone will take you in, feed you, let you do laundry, and put up with until you've figured out how to get on your feet again and that place is NOT a shelter, then you are not homeless. Homelessness is a real and often involuntary condition. Your choice to redirect all your mail to your parent's place while you go roaming does not make you homeless. You're doing some traveling, you're trying some places out, you are NOT without a home. Don't trivialize the plight of the truly homeless by comparing your situation with theirs.
Dash-cation: Can we stop with this already? It's bad enough that we polluted the concept of vacation by adding the perfectly awful "staycation" to the travel vernacular, but now we've got gaycation and mancation and nakation and any number of dash-cation concepts that never should have made it past the overworked editors of the internet. Stop it.
Popularity driven trip giveaways: Oh, social media, how we are your slave now! We will crank out all kinds of stuff to get a shot at a trip to [fill in the blank]. Where once we had only to fill out a form to enter, or in some cases, submit an essay or photo to a panel of judges, now we must create our best "content" (another word that drives me CRAZY), share it via the host's traffic baiting site, and as if giving our work away wasn't enough, we must now pester our friends, both real and imaginary, via Facebook, our blogs, and our Twitter streams, to vote for us. I get that we're probably never going back to the old-fashioned random draw, but this feasting on the entrails of hopeful travel writers and photographers has turned in to a horrible thing to watch. You probably don't care, but I will unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe if you are unreasonably spammy about your bid.
Top ten, next hottest, undiscovered... As if there were only ten. As if you have a crystal ball. As if the days of the great explorers are still with us. I'll take "my favorite" and "under-appreciated" but as for what's hot next? Yeah, I'd like stock tips, too.
Bashing travel writers on press trips: This is your axe to grind, really? Hotels charging for wifi, airlines charging for luggage, airport meltdowns, global warming and acid rain wrecking world monuments, geopolitics making destinations off limits, and you're going after a writer on an press trip? Don't read their stuff. End of story. I said, "END OF STORY."
Did I leave anything out? It might be covered in one of these links:
- How to Write a Bad Travel Story
- The Art of Bad Travel Writing
- Bad Travel Writing Includes All These Words
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