I’m not really sure what the point of this post is yet. It’s more of a rambling trail of thought that occurred to me on one of those cold walks to work, enough to make me write it down in my notes. Anyway here we go…
Everywhere I look on social media at the moment, there are people asking the exact same questions. “Anyone know of any cool stuff to do in Budapest?” “Can someone recommend a non-touristy restaurant in Paris?” “Has anyone found any secret spots I should know about in Yugoslavia?” (Okay that one doesn’t come up so much).
Guys. Chilllllll. Go put on your mac and boat hat and be a bloody tourist. Stop fighting the cliché. You ain’t all got to be Christopher Columbus.
This is something I’ve irrationally been feeling lately. On my last trip to Amsterdam I found myself uncontrollably searching for quirky cafes online and then trying to avoid “touristy” restaurants once there. Why? What did I think I’d find? It was a pressure I’d put on myself so that I could come home and shout about this amazing place that me all by myself had found because I’m succccch a good travel blogger. Nah mate. Sh’up.
I had way more fun when I gave myself a mental slap and realised that it didn’t fucking matter.
I think there’s a fair amount of pressure on travel bloggers to be unique, to find the cafe that serves the world’s best coffee for under a euro and the secret underground bar that no one’s yet exposed. I’m not sure where this pressure stems from but it’s probably just ourselves. Deep down we're just normal Google-Map-holding tourists who want a selfie with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so why are we doing it?
Of course we love finding something different too, coming home with a not-yet-blogged discovery that we can introduce our readers too. But there’s just only so much we can uncover between having breakfast at Tiffany’s and standing underwhelmed in Grand Central Station (I don’t get this one… like do tourists come to see St Pancras?). In the same amount of time as the fellow camera clutching visitors, we’re trying to squish in the overcrowded attractions AND the museum no one tells you to go to.
Maybe we should just all give ourselves a break. Because trying to find something so good that it’s not yet been found is bloody exhausting. And we work hard for the time we spend out of our home countries so let’s relax, you can always come back? (That is definitely something I’m genuinely just about starting to accept, like Amsterdam takes 30 minutes to fly to).
Personally I have a slight guilty pleasure for tourist attractions. I’ve seen a fair few, as the images in this post will show you, and I bloody love having my turn at an inappropriately cheesy selfie. But what does irritate me about these monuments is not the crowds of people that flock to see them - go ahead guys you go see the world! It’s the skanky plastic replicas and the fake painters by the side. It’s the people that charge you $5 to have a photo with something they don’t even own… like no… piss off mate I’ve got my own camera (complete with photo-taking companion).
Okay I have a confession. When I was 15 I bought a tiny clear pink Statue of Liberty Christmas decoration that flashed red and white. It was fantastic and it still sits on my Dad’s tree every year #sorrynotsorry.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you feel the pressure to avoid the tourist cliché, then don’t. Post predictable photos, write about been-there-seen-there places, go and discover what makes you happy.
Coz’ at the end of the day, you’re the one that matters.