Browsing Tag: tourism

Traveling To Poor Countries Doesn’t Make You A Better Person

Posted on - in black feminism

travel doesn't make you a better person

“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.

The Disturbing Truth About Visiting Washington, DC

Posted on - in intersectional feminism

gentrification in washington dc urban colonization and neo colonialism in the caribbean

Tourism allows visitors to experience cities, towns, and countries through rose-colored glasses. The information accessible to a tourist is carefully curated both virtually and in reality. Tourism forces sanitization of a true culture to increase the appeal to tourists. A place is distilled to a “product”. In marketing, you highlight the benefits of a product and ignore the flaws, hopeful that your customers’ attention isn’t drawn to them.

Tourism requires a commodification of local life and flavor. Tourist experiences are quite literally referred to as “packages”. A good product attracts more tourists and a “bad” product repels them. Thus, city governments and countries are motivated to put their best foot forward.

When a city’s economy relies on tourism, there’s an impetus to “sell” a good product and most of us who live in tourist destinations are indoctrinated into a cult of selling, where our experiences and livelihoods must go through a sanitization process before we present those experiences and our “culture” to outsiders.

When I first visited Washington, DC in 2010, I experienced life there as a tourist. I stayed in Virginia with wealthy extended family members who worked and attended school in Washington, DC. I rode in a Prius to the train station and spent each day wandering around the National Mall and surrounding museums in the city with my grandfather, who viewed Washington through equally clueless lenses.

My second trip to Washington in 2011 was only slightly different. I attended Model UN conferences when required to and spent the rest of the time wandering the streets nearby the Hilton where my United Nations cohort stayed. Again, I visited the National Mall. I defied my fear of heights and rode the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument where I stared down at the empty reflecting pool with disappointment. Winter had eliminated some key features of the tourist experience and hinted at a truth that I was not yet prepared to see. Off-season meant a little wear and tear on the “package”.

Why I Hate Resort Tourism | NEW VIDEO!

Posted on - in Caribbean YouTube Videos

This week for this blog, instead of writing about resort tourism, I’ve decided to create a video about the subject. Sometimes I can organize my thoughts better on camera, so I hope you find this video both informative and succinct.

Thank you very much for watching and be sure to leave your comments on this blog post or on the video.