Travel as Exploitation, or Whatever

Oh the hilarity! I mean, also sad, because I have definitely met far too many travelers whose inner monologue is probably shockingly close to this little satirical piece (without that hard-hitting bit at the end). And I have to watch myself closely to not go too far into this territory, too. But mostly it’s hilarious. Check it out:

“When I reached the end of the alley I saw this really elderly and impoverished Guatemalan woman, with like, missing teeth weaving brightly colored cloths on this big weaving apparatus. And I stopped, for like a whole three minutes and we exchanged a really long glance. I felt like I could see into her soul. I took some photos of her, like, without asking. I remember how pleased I felt, that I actually found something in that alley entirely mine. Like, I owned it or something.”

When we travel, what are we learning, what are we taking, and what right have we to do any of it? Those are the questions I hope we’re grappling with in this here blog.

Note: No need to be familiar with My So-Called Life for this to be entertaining. The author’s writing in the style of a 16-year-old TV character from the early ’90s, but that’s just icing if you know the show. (Which honestly, I don’t; I think I’ve seen one and a half episodes, and it was in this past year, so I missed out on the part where I strongly identify with Angela and draw parallels between her life and mine.)

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