Paradise found. For many travel writers and bloggers, and travelers in general, that is the goal. Somewhere out there is a place where you can relax and recharge. Someplace where the land, the people, and the elements speak your language. Someplace that is your “happy place.” The question is: Once you find it, do you tell anyone about it?
Whether travel bloggers and writers are ruining travel is an important question, but not an easy one to answer. For most, a love for travel and discovery motivate us to promote travel and tourism, and it’s sometimes hard to believe that can actually work against the industry we support. As a measure of success, tourism is growing around the world, but there are those who argue that success is part of the problem.
Too Pretty to Stay Secret – Too Popular to Stay Pretty
Many times, the sheer beauty of a place has been its downfall. Once word gets out, tourism begins and the Garden of Eden enters a slow decay. Tourists change the ecology, often leaving much more than footprints, and taking much more than pictures. Tourism changes the economy, and not always for the better for those who still call a place home. Once changed so, the experience can hardly match the descriptions by those who witnessed the “virgin state” and captured the stories and photographs that drew crowds in the first place.
When you find that picture-perfect spot, the best meal ever, the most wonderful hotel…do you share? From Anthony Bourdain to Zane Grey, writers have wrestled with this question. Knowing that once your readers share your discovery, once the secret is out, the experience will be changed forever is a heavy burden. And yet, it is not just a job but a part of our nature to seek out and share these experiences.
One of our Happy Places is one of Hawaii’s worst kept secrets: Hana. We’ve written about it, and so has just about every other travel blogger, columnist, and magazine. It’s known as “the most authentic Hawaiian village,” and for good reason. Thankfully, those who visit are respectful of the location and the locals. And those who live in and around Hana work hard to keep it as quintessentially Hawaiian as it is. One reason it is our Hawaiian Happy Place.
The hope is that everyone can share the writer’s experience. We are not bragging; we want you to enjoy the same beauty, the same service, the same spectacle we have witnessed. Like taking a photograph, we are capturing a moment we hope will be preserved, which we work to preserve, so that others can experience it. The sacred trust we place in readers is that they too will work to preserve it for the next visitors.
Do we keep secrets? No. But we trust that each of us will work to keep those secrets safe.