I’m sure you’ve seen or heard this word swarming around the internet or on social media. Or, you might’ve seen the action (or even engaged in it) without knowing this concept has a name.
How significant is this concept, “Travel Shaming”? Well, it’s been a hot topic in almost all of the Facebook Travel Groups I’m part of and certainly caught the attention of Business Insider, CNN, and the NY Times.
So, what is or isn’t Travel Shaming? I’m going to share with you what I feel travel shaming is and isn’t.
What is Travel Shaming?
Some people take to social media to criticize others for their travels during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Business Insider, “Travel shaming is the latest public display of chastising people’s decision to travel during COVID and has only been exacerbated in today’s cancel-culture, COVID-callout world.”
And, not to oversimplify the fact that we are STILL in the midst of a pandemic, people are just going to people. No matter how much we want them to sit, stay home, practice social and physical distancing, and wear masks, there are people who are hell bent on doing the opposite.
So, who am I to shame? Shaming has hardly stopped anyone from doing anything.
Case and point (See below).
What isn’t it?
Whenever someone confronts a person about wearing their masks or their reckless behavior as it relates to physical distancing and practicing great personal hygiene, then how can anyone call that shaming?
Where does the accountability start and end? Trick question. It doesn’t end. That’s the part that some people just don’t understand.
Accountability breeds response-ability.― Stephen R. Covey
I’ll give you a non-travel example. As some of you may know, I work at a college. So, this past weekend, it was my turn to work the on-call duties, which meant I responded to any student violations and emergencies.
Y’all! On Friday night, between 10 pm and 1 am, it was like a social upheaval. Between two fights of 30+ students, large crowds gathering outside their apartments, the seizure of drug paraphernalia, and confronting students about policy violations, you would’ve thought that I was taking their livelihood away from just my existence.
Mind you, this has been the very first time I’ve engaged and encountered this many people since March. So, I was already leery about being around these students.
Anyway, the main part I want to share is the audaciousness, and lack of integrity and honesty exhibited by these students. Some even had the neeervvee to make flippant remarks.
It took everything in me, myself, and I to remain calm and professional. But, in this example, it clearly shows that some people’s behaviors, whether as a result of travel or not, warrants more than tender, love, and care.
This isn’t shaming. If you’re reckless, irresponsible, and knowingly sick, then you deserve to be held accountable.
Accountability isn’t Shaming. Period.
Why are People Travel Shaming?
Travel shaming is used more in the social media context. So, the out of sight out of mind applies here. It’s the people online boasting about their 10-day getaway in a country that might still be combating their COVID cases. Or, they are making light of the pandemic while they are traveling.
I get the sentiment of holding others accountable for their actions, but in today’s world, a simple critique could be seen as blasphemy and the whip lashing that broke your mama’s back.
Let’s take this photo for example:
Let’s look at another one:
What do you think about the people in this video?
What are your initial thoughts of the above photos and video?
Who should be held accountable and who is being responsible? Notice how those who are traveling are for the most part alone or with very few others.
Here are some thoughts about the concept of shaming during COVID-19
Note: Instead of posting the screenshots, I instead decided to type them so as to not bring negative attention to the posters.
“I was vacation shamed and my boss said that I couldn’t take off at the end of the year because I was planning on going out of the country. He then took my days off and is going on a week-long vacation.”
“Actually I do need to travel. I live far from my family so going back home after months of not seeing them and literally being quarantined alone hasn’t been helpful to my mental health.”
“People feel ashamed because they know what they’re doing is wrong.”
“The shaming is pointless. Even if everyone stopped traveling, people will get it from stores, schools and family.”
“Be aware of what you’re posting on social media during this time. Many people have been affected by this pandemic and many countries are still struggling to get a hold of it. If you’re able to find a safe way to travel, keep it to yourself. Not everything needs to be posted on social media.”
“We are that selfish and unfortunately we are that entitled. People can’t sit tf down and be considerate. It’s exactly the reason why the country is in the state it’s in.”
“Mind your own passport and wallet.”
“If I can find a way to be as safe as possible and feel comfortable I’ll do it.”
“If people post about it, I’m judging.”
“People are using excuses about travel being self-care and for mental health. You shouldn’t rely on one thing for self-care and mental health.”
“Travel IS therapy.”
“You can’t determine why someone else travels on what they need for themselves to be happy.”
I’m curious how you feel about travel shaming during this period. What are some examples you’ve seen? In the meantime, check out my IGTV episode that goes live tomorrow at 12 pm here.