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Do We Really Need to Travel?

  

Category:  Travel, Geography and Foreign Cultures

Via:  john-russell  •  last year  •  16 comments

By:   Froma Harrop (ArcaMax)

Do We Really Need to Travel?
The economies in many hotspots live off the tourist dollar, but even their residents are frustrated by having to wend their way through the selfie-taking mobs to buy groceries. Quaint Bar Harbor, Maine, recently had to put limits on cruise ship visits. Some ships were so big, they would disgorge 4,000 passengers into this town of only 5,200 people.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Froma Harrop on Jul 4, 2023

I have friends who routinely ask where I've traveled of late and where I plan to go next. The answer is that, except for a recent trip to New York, I haven't gone anywhere. As for my plans for future travel, plans, yes, I have them. I plan to not travel.

An insanity has gripped Americans. It often does under the unfortunate name of "revenge travel" -- the notion that we must travel aggressively now to make up for the time lost in COVID closures. Add to that those silly bucket lists of places you "must" see before your demise. Who sez? The mighty god Instagram, flashing dreams of idyllic villages overlooking the blue Ionian Sea with only you there.

The reality of today's tourism is long waits in Saharan heat to get into the Rome Colosseum. Hikers at Yellowstone National Park inch along in DMV-like lines. It got so bad in Italy's Cinque Terre region that hiking trails are made one-way at busy times. So much for being in nature.

Then there's cost. The high demand for hotels and air travel has raised the price of even off-season trips to in-season levels. Americans are now dishing out thousands for a week in an oppressively crowded London or Paris, money that could go to a new kitchen.

In Shakespeare's "As You Like It," Rosalind responds to the melancholy Jacques bragging about his many trips abroad. "A traveller! By my faith, you have great reason to be sad," she says. "I fear you have sold your own lands to see other men's."

Did we mention the weather? The Mediterranean is a virtual heat dome covering a multiyear drought. And beachgoers in Southern California are being attacked by sea lions driven onshore by a nasty algae bloom, courtesy of warming temperatures.

The economies in many hotspots live off the tourist dollar, but even their residents are frustrated by having to wend their way through the selfie-taking mobs to buy groceries. Quaint Bar Harbor, Maine, recently had to put limits on cruise ship visits. Some ships were so big, they would disgorge 4,000 passengers into this town of only 5,200 people.

Dubrovnik in Croatia has been named the most "over-touristed" city in Europe by an online vacation home rental company. Barcelona and Athens are close behind.

Sicily has always attracted its share of tourists, but thanks to the fantasy spread by "The White Lotus" series, it is confronting kind of tourist onslaught more typical of Capri. Even the less-crowded "shoulder seasons" of spring and fall no longer allow for peaceful contemplation.

Local culture gets lost among vendors hawking bubble tea and sweatshirts. Amsterdam has seen its openness to drugs and prostitution turned into an international orgy of rampaging partygoers. Japanese shopkeepers are now wishing that foreign visitors would take their shoes off, as is custom, before traipsing through their stores. Good luck to them.

I was in Paris last summer. Even though Notre Dame Cathedral was closed for repairs from a devastating fire, the crowds in front were such that we passersby were forced off the wide plaza and onto the streets.

Machu Picchu, high in the Andes Mountains and surrounded by steep cliffs, was storied for its remote location. Nowadays, getting into Peru's ancient Inca citadel requires long waits in long lines. Cultural authorities there have limited entrance to 2,500 visitors a day.

I have my garden. I have my kitchen. I have AC for the hot days. Where have so many of my neighbors gone? And why are they leaving at the loveliest time of year?

Instagram and Facebook can be stern masters. And they should know this: Bucket lists are strictly in their heads.

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Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    last year

I saw another article very similar to this recently. Maybe there is some sort of growing backlash. 

I heard that 40 million Americans traveled away from home for the 4th of July. That sure sounds like a lot of people . Where is everyone going? Its not like Thanksgiving or Christmas where people go across country to see family they moved away from. 

In the end, travel, or not much travel, is an individual inclination. People should be able to be happy either way. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     last year

It's true many tourist destinations are being overrun. Our National Parks are one destination that it is happening to. 

Fortunately for me before I retired I spent 25 years traveling the world to all of our offices. I'd throw in a few vacation days to see more of the area I was in and on occasion would take a few weeks vacation and have my wife join me. 

That and having lived in a few foreign countries, Australia, Singapore, Samoa, and Hong Kong afforded us a lot of travel.

After retiring I purchased a 5th wheel and did a lot of travel around the US.

Today I'm happy staying at home and taking short trips to the beach for a couple of days or up in the mountains. If I never get on another airplane it will be too soon.

 
 
 
shona1
Professor Quiet
3  shona1    last year

Morning...yes we never got much of the tourist trade for years here but now every lot of holidays we are invaded.. it's school hols here at the moment...

I am use to rocking up to my favourite beaches getting a park no worries and going for a swim of walk..

Now during the hols it's bloody packed and can't get a park..this is just not cricket and it really makes me quite agro at times...

I am glad when the hols have finished and everyone buggars off back home and normality is restored...

As I say...nice to see the tourists but it's good when they have gone..😁

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1  Ender  replied to  shona1 @3    last year

The good news is, see a shark just get behind a tourist...

 
 
 
shona1
Professor Quiet
3.1.1  shona1  replied to  Ender @3.1    last year

Nahhh..our sharks are fuzzy...they prefer locals that way they know what they are getting..

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
4  Sean Treacy    last year

The travel is too cheap and isn’t for peasants argument gaining force

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1  Ender  replied to  Sean Treacy @4    last year

I don't mind travel. I am sort of against the article as I think travel can be healthy.

What I don't like is people can be pigs. I have seen articles where people are just leaving trash and trashing up places, national parks.

The other day I saw a vid of some woman that went off trail and tried to stick her foot in geothermal hot springs...Yellowstone I believe.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
4.1.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @4.1    last year
tried to stick her foot in geothermal hot springs...Yellowstone I believe.

I'll bet that didn't end well.

 
 
 
shona1
Professor Quiet
4.1.2  shona1  replied to  Ender @4.1    last year

Wasn't convinced it was hot?? Can't fix stupid..

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.3  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.1    last year

I don't think it was one of the lethal ones. I Imagine she ended up burning her foot. The short vid I saw didn't show the outcome.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
5  sandy-2021492    last year

Froma Harrop is a curmudgeon.

I can't say that travel is necessary, but it surely is enriching.  Travel gives you new perspectives, dispels prejudices, and is just plain fun.  You can look at pictures of the Grand Canyon, but that won't prepare you for its sheer size (or so I'm told.  It's on my bucket list.).  You can watch videos of a Broadway play, but that's not the same as seeing and hearing it in person, and enjoying it with an audience.  You can drink a Guinness, but that's not the same as drinking a pint in an Irish pub with live music and local banter.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  sandy-2021492 @5    last year
You can drink a Guinness, but that's not the same as drinking a pint in an Irish pub with live music and local banter.

I hate to say it, but thats really just a matter of opinion. There certainly was a time when people knew next to nothing about other places, and were usually unable to go see for themselves. Today one can take a virtual tour of just about every place on earth. They may not replace the real thing, but they do give the viewer knowledge of what the place is like. I can watch a one hour tour of London on You Tube and learn a great deal about the place. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5.1.1  Ender  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    last year

As long as we don't have to have virtual sex like in Demolition Man...jrSmiley_100_smiley_image.jpg

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
5.1.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  JohnRussell @5.1    last year
They may not replace the real thing,

Not even close.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5.1.3  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @5.1.2    last year

That idiot that was carving up the coliseum, people like that I swear I would want to slap the shit out of them.

They stopped tourism at those cave paintings in France or something. One can only tour a replica nearby. People kept touching them...

I agree though.

Ain't nothin like the real thing baby
 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
5.1.4  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @5.1.3    last year
people like that I swear I would want to slap the shit out of them.

I'll hold them for you.

 
 

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