The invisible loss of the TripAdvisor generation

We like to complain about the globalisation, gentrification, that the world is getting all alike, monotonous, but we on the other hand also do it all the same! There is a lot of pleasure and adventure in going through wrong streets, meeting new people, trying new food and places that “the Internet does not know about”.

Ok, I get it. You only have 2 weeks of precious holiday so you want to make the most out of each minute and cannot afford the luxury of making a mistake that could put your experience into jeopardy. Time is money and every minute must be used as if it was the last one.

You plan all the details with precision, at you find the ho(s)tel with the best reviews, and on TripAdvisor you find tips of where to eat, where to go and the top 10 spots for that amazing selfie. Nothing wrong with it, after all who likes to travel in the dark?!

 When words are not enough...

When words are not enough...

Alexander Graham Bel - the dude from the phone - already adverted about "keeping forever on the public road, because you would be going where others have gone", loads of people like to mention that, but wouldn't this also apply to your holidays?

Hitting New York and not taking that picture with the Statue of Liberty in the background? No way! China? Let's go to the Wall. London, Big Ben! India the Taj Mahal! Selfie beast mode full on! Lookalike pictures to Mary's, Paul's, and Bob's.... The same applies for food; Why taking a chance at that dodgy place full of locals by the corner? Forget it! Google "best places to eat around me", boom!

We like to complain about the globalisation, gentrification, that the world is getting all alike, monotonous, but we on the other hand also do it all the same. The pictures look alike, the food is the same, and our walks end up on the same streets, always through the safe path, the "happy tourist way". When you read the reviews from such travellers, the pictures and comments are very similar, and based on someone else's experience. It is the death of originality, of the adventure, of things happening by chance. We shut ourselves to the new, the different, the "bad". Nobody takes a wrong street, find something new, or build new synapses because it's all already munched on the Internet, sorted through the GPS.

I worked for years as a waiter in London and I remember about the "jokes" we had for each kind of tourist. The Americans would complain but tip generously, the Chinese would take a picture of everything, the Indians would make a mess, and so on.... When me and my wife went on our first Korean BBQ the first thing we did was placing our cups over this square thing that we later find out, with the waiter rolling his eyes in laughter, were the plates! We followed that with loads of questions of "how do we eat this", or "what is that"... Today we are the "ignorant" tourists that I so much complained about; asking about everything, taking pictures of all the foods, taking hours to make a decision. And  are exactly these mistakes and fuck ups - the sitting down to talk to a stranger, sometimes through gestures and drawings, getting into random places and trying that weird food cooked by the old lady, and with luck, the best meal of the whole trip - that broadened my horizons.

When the resume Chinese food to "just fried stuff", the Indian to "spicy" and the Japanese to "raw fish", we only see few shades of life, like a dog. We stop using other senses that were given to us by the divine providence. We become average.

 What now... ?

What now... ?

Everybody complains about camping. That is horrible, there are bugs, it's too cold or too hot. Then you spend a week in that mega resort and in ten minutes you can summarise your entire stay. But when you go camping for only a short weekend, so much stuff go wrong (or right) that you end up with days of new, funny, and horrible stories to share with your friends. Have you noticed this?

Little boys who play with fire burn their finger. It is not about liking it, it is about giving it a try. Opening ourselves to the new, the bad, the ugly, the different. Variety is the spice of life! And who knows, with luck, in one of those off-TripAdvisors excursions, you ended up through a new path...