An open letter to a fellow traveler, who shared her snap-judgments of us a little too obviously.
Dear Traveling Mom of 2;
We don’t know each other, but we do have some things in common. Our paths have crossed recently on a trip to a little village in Belgium. You, your partner and your children were enjoying a visit to a beautiful citadel with an amazing history and a beautiful view.
You and I (both on vacations with loved ones) snapped beautiful photos of that same village. We marveled at the same historic buildings and walked the same cobble-stoned paths. Although I do wish you a lifetime of travel with your loved ones, I do urge you to exercise common courtesy and thoughtfulness during your next vacation(s).
During our brief time visiting the same tourist attraction, my friend and I showed nothing but courtesy for you, your partner and your children. I am offended (and a bit shocked) that you did not show us that same courtesy.
While you most likely left that little village with positive memories (like your children playfully running up the staircase while you and your partner wonder where they could ever get that much energy…), the memories my friend and I left with are far less pleasant.
The memory I will take away from my little trip to that village is being openly (and not-at-all-subtly) judged by you for the use of my “selfie stick”.
Such a judgement (said in our obvious direction, as it is not tourist season and we were the only ones around) was just not necessary. Perhaps you weren’t aware; but your loud, judgmental and rather condescending “WOW” proclamation as you passed us by did not go un-noticed.
We were not in your way, we were not being rude, inconsiderate or disrespectful; we were simply trying to capture our vacation the way we wanted it to be remembered.
Traveling is a beautiful thing, and it deserves to be captured by everyone, in whatever way they would like to capture it.
That poorly angled selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower is one of my favourites, because it reminds me that I can capture my own, silly, creative kind of beauty anywhere I go. The park bench I set my camera on to record a video of a new place for my loved ones back home; that’s how I share my view of the world.
These are the ways I LIKE to capture my adventures, and how dare you openly criticize that?
To make things clear, I was not particularly shocked by your judgement. Judgement is a basic human instinct.
We analyze things. In the past, we’ve analyzed things like “how much of a threat is this person to me” based on their actions. These days, we analyze how a person lives and what they are like, based on their actions. Yesterday, I analyzed just how much Netflix I could binge-watch before turning into a literal couch potato. This is very human; to analyze. And I get it.
Personally, I take no shame in the “selfie game”, especially while traveling. I make the most of my travels, going however far I need to in order to capture those memories of myself in beautiful places. I love selfie sticks. I think they are a great invention; as made pretty obvious by my hilariously bright orange selfie stick and my expensive camera.
I do not expect you to share these same little quirks, nor do I expect you to “approve of” the ways I like to capture my vacation. And trust me, you made it abundantly clear that you did not approve of this social construct.
I did, however, expect a certain level of kindness and decency from a fellow human being. Most specifically, I expected a certain level of respect from a traveling mother of 2; as traveling with loud children is also quite often rudely misjudged by other people.
As I said, you and I have some things in common.
I really do encourage you to experience the world for yourself, through your own eyes and make the memories you’d like to make, regardless of the judgments that come with that. Capturing the world as you see it with your family is a beautiful gift; but please don’t obscenely vocalize your judgements about the way other people choose to capture their travels.
Think before you speak.
Sincerely; A Capture-The-Moment-At-Whatever-Cost Traveler