“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”
— Marcel Proust
In 2018, I’ve traveled more than I have any other year of my life that I can remember. I traveled to Barbados twice, visited different cities and towns all across the East Coast of the United States from New York to Washington, DC. My travels were to both rural destinations, fully gentrified cities and cities enduring the destructive transformation of gentrification street by street.
Traveling has opened my eyes. I don’t mean this in the corny way white girls do when they take a picture with an exuberant (or more hilariously, totally uninterested) mahogany colored child. Opening my eyes to my internal journey throughout my 2018 travels has cracked open a major myth about traveling that is all too easy to believe when you’re fantasizing about Santorini from a bed.
Travel is not inherently transformative. Travel doesn’t break down the barriers between visitors and tourists. Traveling doesn’t make you a better person.
Can traveling have a positive impact? Absolutely. But the myth that change, transformation and a better understanding of social inequalities erupt inherently from travel serves only to perpetuate the capitalistic myth that our consumption is equivalent to activism.