Beyond Infinity Pools on Instagram: Why Travel Matters, in the Wake of the Election

At Home, On the Go

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed a shift last week in the tone and topics of my tweets. In my despair over the results of the election, things have gotten much more political than they generally are. I’m trained as a journalist, and I want to be generally unbiased and apolitical in my tweets, but I’m struggling ya’ll.

I know that people who voted for our President-elect likely did so mostly despite his comments of gender, sexuality, religion and race, not because of them. But I’m distraught that he won, and those views are the reason why. I don’t mind if you want to debate me on foreign policy, but once your campaign becomes centered around hate speech and personal insults, I have a problem.

I spent a couple of days feeling really bad, wanting to quit my job and give up on this blog and dig a hole in the ground of bad feelings and sit in it for a while. And I did mope. I did order cozy sweaters online in a desperate desire for comfort.

I’m not going to delete my blog and be quiet.

Don’t worry, things aren’t going to get political here, because that’s not my topic area or my promise to you and honestly, there are so many sites out there where people write eloquently about politics much better than I could.

But I will occasionally speak up about the importance of standing up for our fellow human beings.

 

Travel is not a rebellion. It's not a protest. It's not volunteering. But it is important. Travel matters, especially in the wake of this election

 

But this blog post is to say that travel is still important.

And perhaps now more than ever.

I don’t want to move to another country in order to escape the mess that is the United States right now, unlike many of my fellow Americans. I know how important it is to stay and help fight the hateful rhetoric that has become so mainstream in the US.

Travel is not a rebellion. It’s not a protest. It’s not volunteering. But it is important.

Going to another country, and leaving the infinity pool at the hotel to see how actual people live there, is important. Going somewhere outside the western world, if you can, is important. Traveling within the US, to “fly over” states full of “white trash hicks” is, believe it or not, important.

Why travel if you aren’t going to interact with people who aren’t like you? Why travel if you aren’t open to being changed by what you see?

In the days and months after this election, I hope that we can talk to each other. I hope that we can strive to understand people who are different from ourselves.

That includes Americans who might disagree with us. That includes people in other countries who are more concerned with clean water supply than who the president of our country is. Travel is so much more than infinity pools on Instagram.

A photo posted by Darcy Coulter (@darcyacoulter) on

 

You don’t need to get on a plane to expand your mind, but it sure helps.

I’ll keep writing about fancy pants tea, and making macarons. But this is just to say, the gift of travel is found in the moments between. Keep that in mind when you’re booking your flights.

-Darcy

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  • Brooke Hyden

    Thanks so much for this…you said beautifully what I believe many of us are struggling with!

  • Holly Hulke

    I completely agree with your thoughts on travel! In processing the election, I too, thought that people ought to travel more to gain an appreciation for other people, places, ideas, and cultures.

  • Dan Voltz

    I remember reading that one of the elements that correlated to voting for Donald Trump was whether or not you had traveled away from your home town during your life. In many ways, travel is a political act–in a good way, I mean. I’ve found that having that broader set of experiences is so, so important in recognizing the way the world works, in building empathy… in a lot of ways.

  • Becki Iverson

    You’re so right – travel is key towards helping us develop and flex our empathy skills. Totally agree with you!