dear ___

dear instagram modern magazine article influence app’er.

i read your latest piece in the __________ and felt compelled to write a letter to your editor.

whilst your photos are pretty and your words have a lyrical and poetic cadence to them, you are romanticising places that are groaning under the weight of the international instabookapp phenomenon they did not ask to become. tourism is affecting the way of life for people who either chose to live in the place because of it’s remote beauty or because they simply have nowhere else to go.

their pavements are crowded, the sides of their roads are littered with the remnants of your drive by / fleeting obsessions. delicate landscapes are being destroyed by your desire to get the most instabookappable shot. your disregard for the beauty of the wild landscapes is a disgrace… remote places without public toilets are not an invitation for you to deposit your human waste wherever you please without any thought of cultural or environmental impact. and, if you look beyond the crowded city streets, see how homeless numbers are increasing as “affordable” housing gets less and less affordable with every new holiday rental that enters the market. sure, an increase in tourism also brings revenue. but it’s hard to balance the money with the increased strain on local infrastructure and services. and what price do you put on the environmental damage people cause?

did you stop to consider how it might be for the locals when you wrote with “authority” about a place they call home? even though you’ve been there twice, for long weekends, and have no idea what it’s really like? have you thought about all the ways your “influence” is putting fragile landscapes and people at risk?

don’t misunderstand me though, i have a thing for travel too. all i’m asking is that you’re mindful. be careful what you say about places that are affected by the influx of travellers, look beyond the end of your selfie stick and sweeping landscapes to the people and places that bear the scars of your scenery chasing and poetic articles.

think for a minute about the unintended consequences of your travel-related activities.

yours etc.


here’s a selection of the articles that prompted this post; i guarantee i could find more. there are likely also arguments to the contrary (this is the internet after all), and more factors that contribute to these issues than just social media.

  1. Half of Icelanders fear tourism is damaging nature according to a new poll
  2. Iceland Is Sick of Tourists’ Bad Behavior
  3. TOURISTS CARVE ‘SEND NUDES’ INTO MOSSY ICELAND HILL. The ‘graffiti’ will take around 70 years to fade out
  4. Don’t step on the Moss
  5. Freedom campers dump faeces on Maori burial ground
  6. Trying to find a way forward on freedom camping
  7. San Francisco’s Homeless Encampments Expose The Failure Of A Liberal Utopia
  8. Homelessness in Paris: The Darker Side of the City of Light
  9. Japan deals with ‘tourism pollution’ from surges in visitors

5 thoughts on “dear ___

  • We just returned from a holiday on the top of the South Island and saw a lot of these freedom campers. Can’t imagine what it’s like in places like Nelson and Golden Bay in the middle of January.

    • I hate to think. I grew up in Golden Bay and my memory of the place is quite different to how it is now!

  • For various reasons I follow several instafluncerers. They come to Tokyo. I offer to show them around. To open local doors. They never care for it. They don’t want to know what locals eat or wear because their focus is on impressing their audience at home. It’s odd & imperialistic which is why their prose is also odd & imperialistic. They like to imagine themselves as explorers but really they are like colonists for a nomadic digital empire.

    • That is totally baffling to me that they wouldn’t accept your offer of helping them see the “real” side of Tokyo!

      “colonists for a nomadic digital empire” – LOVE that description! Feels very true.

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