This is the last post in my ‘hashtag-three-years-a-travel-blogger‘ series,…only because ever so often I see things that get smoke emitting from my nostrils and ears..in a silent fit of rage, so..how fair and balanced would I be, if I didn’t slide in my top travel-circles related pet peeves?
1) Social-media smooth criminals;
Excuse me if I’ve said this before. In the travel blogging world, having a fat following is key to having advertisers lining up at your doorstep and you smiling all the way to the bank. After all, apart from following your passion writing and traveling, a huge reason for your intense focus, rigorous editing and expeditious posting is to earn moulah and be a digital hopscotch-er.
Getting folks to follow your brand and being a recognized online influencer is darn hard; one either has to be hilariously interesting, drop dead gorgeous, weird or wacky, a celebrity, hated and loved in the same measure, or someone who has mastery of their niche in ways no one else can. The competition on these streets is real, people. I’m cool with Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or even Pinterest. What makes me blue and hopping mad is the folk on instagram; the idjits who follow just to unfollow. The ones who think algorithms and engagement are a ton of crap and try to bypass them by falsely gaining a following by follow-unfollow tactics. That’s just lame.
2) Copy-cats: I get it. We all love a little inspiration. However, it’s one thing to be inspired, it’s quite unnerving and maddening to straight out copy other bloggers. That’s akin to plagiarism. If you do it once, we may give you a pass, but if you copy every single thing someone else is doing and even adopt their style and voice? Guess what..the world is watching you morph into a combination of a troll and stalker. Yikes. You may not know it but you’re depriving your followers that authentic voice they are familiar with, you are abandoning the activism you would do within these circles in favour of shadowing someone else. Imitation may be the best form of flattery but stalk mode is downright creepy. Please stop!
3) Party animals, beg packers and animal abusers: If your feed as a travel blogger is full of pictures of you laying wasted and inebriated…hmmm, that entices eyerolls and silent ughs’ from many of us. Pictures of you in destinations should be showcasing the beauty of the places you visit. Not all your followers are millenials. If we wanted to see episodes of Jersey shore, we’d know where to click and go fetch. Still on the subject, young first-worlders who have their money running out and them in a developing country, depending on the kindness of the locals is absurd. If one is stranded, there are options out there..like let’s say, teach english? Or ask mum, or dad, or friends to wire money, perhaps send a home-bound ticket? The abuse of animals for selfies sake is not understandable. Leaving trash on the beaches of countries you visit after parties is a no no. Respect the environment and yourselves whichever part of the world you visit.
4) Travel bloggers who throw shade on Africa like it’s the ‘dark continent‘: Hello…uh no. Forgive me for my bias but..as an African, I’m keen to defend my continent. Imagining that you’re a seasoned traveler then blurting out in conversation that “there’s really nothing else to see in Africa, once you’ve been on a safari,” um no, we will hand it to you..there’s alot to see. There is culture, there is history, there is great food, amazing weather and most of all there are wonderful locals. Get out there, bond with people and tell the stories after you’ve been. No lions are roaming the streets getting ready to make a meal out of you. The excuses and whining about visa issues cannot and will not be understood by us Africans. Do you know how much paperwork and ‘proof’ of compelling ‘intention to return home’ evidence we have to carry to embassies, and the humiliating harsh interview processes we have to go through before being issued a visa to the West? The long lines in the sweltering sun to get those visa stamps? We don’t get it when you complain about applying for electronic visas from the comfort of your couch, or the 50 dollars you will part with for a visa-on-arrival into an African country. Stop acting all entitled. You are a globetrotter, so travel to Africa as well.
5) Nitpickers: It’s okay to say that you prefer not to go to destination A or B as a matter of personal choice, but to nitpick and pontificate on rogue governments and why you’re boycotting some destinations may be viewed as pot calling kettle black, because if you really look closely, there is something amiss about whichever country you go to. If the locals are great, the leadership is awry; if the leadership is a model of democracy, they have a history of wrongdoings that haven’t been righted, they may be entangled in wars by proxy in other nations or exploiting mineral resources in the third world countries. So in effect, every part of the world has something questionable about it’s present or past and only when you’re on ground with the ordinary man or woman, can you hear the real stories, and give their voices some level of dignity, instead of depending on a skewed media for information.
6) The absence of airline etiquette: This applies to any public space you may find yourself. Grooming in the open is not cool. Do the public a favor and trim your facial hairs, clip or paint your nails.. in privacy. Respect your neighbors on the flight; be orderly when embarking or disembarking, don’t crowd the aisle, don’t hog the arm rest, don’t flip your hair over your seat..it may block someone’s view when they just want to watch an in-flight movie, don’t remove your socks in flights, don’t put your feet up in someone else’s space, be mindful of the smells of food you carry on board, your neighbors may not appreciate it or may have allergies…and above all, don’t roll your eyes at a bawling baby. Observing some airline etiquette on board, will help others have an enjoyable flight without resorting to fist fights on board.
What are your travel-related pet peeves if any? Please share in the comment section.