Last week I came across a post that had been written by a blogger I check out a couple of times a week. She’s extremely well traveled and always has well written content, not to mention beautiful photos.
The post was old but the topic was of interest to me-she described the time she visited Mesoamerican ruins. Throughout the post she tells her readers that they should visit these ruins and not another equally famous group that receives countless more visitors each year. I myself had been to the set of ruins she was telling people not to visit. The ones she had visited, I’m still dreaming about traveling to one day. I was a little miffed that she would put off the one set of ruins but I thought to myself, if she’s been to both she obviously would have a valid opinion in saying so whereas with me, I’ve only been to the one. It was only after I got to the comments section and started reading them did I come across someone who asked the question, “Have you ever actually been to the ruins you’re telling people not to visit?” I will say this, the blogger didn’t lie (I could see many people saying why yes, they had). A third person then chimed in along the lines that the blogger was ridiculous telling people to not go somewhere that she herself had never been. While I was definitely thinking the same thing, I avoid confrontation at all costs, especially in an online medium where people get downright nasty at times. She responded that if it was ridiculous, then so be it.
Travel is entirely subjective-where one person might love a city or a set or ruins, another person may not. But for a traveler to say not to go somewhere is flat out “ridiculous.” Her reasons for dissuading travelers from going to these ruins came down to, it seemed, observations from photos and other people’s written content. She had “stated” that the ruins she had visited and loved were not crowded versus the ruins she was telling people to not go to were mobbed with people, many of them embarking on a day trip from a nearby popular destination area. Plenty of people chimed in that when they visited the supposedly “crowded” ruins, they were in fact, not crowded (I’d agree with this myself). The blogger had also said she could take photos without people being in them; once again this is going by photos on the Internet she had seen, nothing having to do with an in-person experience.
To me, this blogger, who I had always thought seemed intelligent and well-versed, left out the bigger picture between the two ruins she so ignorantly compared.
-The ruins she visited most likely are more deserted but that is to do with their much more remote location. So while you may encounter less people there to “obscure” your photo, it can also cost more money to get there, not to mention take longer.
-Mobs of tourists anywhere can be a bit much, but in developing nations, the locale of the ruins that the blogger hadn’t been to, those mobs of tourists pour a lot of money into the local economy and thus help the many individuals who live in abject poverty. Without those tourists, many of the locals would be worse off.
Being a well-informed traveler means not saying something that has no validity to it. The blogger had just said she wanted to tell readers why people should visit the ruins she had; I’m not sure why she didn’t just do that, instead of bringing in a destination she had never been to herself, yet through her writing had implied that she had.
(I kept the blogger and the ruins anonymous on purpose. I wrote this post not to “call her out” but rather to show why being truthful in the blogosphere is important at all times, especially if you want to be taken seriously as a legitimate voice. Although minus the two people that questioned her, no one else seemed to care about her omission of truth which I thought was odd.
What do you think?