In a world rapidly being transformed by social media, shame culture is becoming very rampant. Whereas the past generations had to deal with guilt culture, wherein people distinguish morality based on personal conscience, we now face the pressure of pleasing our online communities. People throw judgments unthinkingly — taking a screenshot of every controversial post, flashing smartphone cameras at people committing questionable acts. Perhaps, these are all in an attempt to achieve some sort of social justice. However, it also fosters a culture of toxicity and gossip.
We see destructive comments all over social media. As writers, we ourselves have to deal with these comments directed at us regularly. With the motive of inspiring people to travel, we pour our travel-thirsty hearts out on paper. We receive a lot of love from our avid readers, but then, we are also very much exposed to mean comments and hostile trolls.
In our experience, shame culture does more harm than good. On top of that, strangers are not the only ones who shame us. Sometimes, it’s the people closest to us that shame us for our love for travel. This sits on a whole other level of pain. This said, it’s oftentimes difficult to deal with travel shamers. But, it’s not impossible. Here are some ways you can respond to travel shamers — whether you know them or not.
1. Ignore them
As the saying goes, “Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate.” You do not need to let the travel shamers get to you. If a comment isn’t even relevant to you, distance yourself from it and try not to take it too personally. We know that this is easier said than done; however, victims of shaming only subject themselves to revictimization if they retaliate.
Before responding, take a breath. Assess the situation properly. Does the shaming really need a response from you? Or will you be better off ignoring the comment?
2. Have a good laugh
Take your cue from Jimmy Kimmel and laugh about the mean comments. Seriously, some comments don’t even make sense. Some people nitpick and have to look for something wrong with what you’re doing, just to make you feel bad. If you sense that there is nothing substantial about a comment, just laugh about it. Come on, we all need a little laugh sometimes!
3. Put yourself in their shoes
People who live differently may have a hard time grasping our lifestyle choices. Maybe they have different priorities than we do. Or, maybe they don’t understand the benefits of travelling.
Most of the time, our older loved ones give us flack because they see travelling as a waste of money. Them “travel shaming” us doesn’t mean they can’t be well-meaning! Give them the benefit of the doubt. Why do they feel the need to guilt you for our travels? Are they sincerely concerned with you? Did they not have the same privileges you have when they were growing up? Were they never exposed to a lifestyle of travel?
When you think about where they’re coming from, you’ll have an easier time not taking their comments personally.
4. Tell them about the benefits of travelling
If your travel shamer is well-meaning but misinformed, then try our favourite way of responding to travel shamers: Educating them.
Educating shamers is always better than hating on them. Be a light and shed a light. As a traveller, you should be a good source of information about the benefits of travelling. Sit your travel shamer down and talk to them about why you love travelling. Who knows? They might just have an open mind!
5. Throw some shade
Keyword: SOME. Don’t overuse this. Again, we discourage you from stooping down to the level of your travel shamers. But we have to be honest, dealing with travel shamers isn’t always easy. Some people just don’t get that what they’re doing is wrong. Some need to be awakened with tough love.
Our tip? Maybe subtly share this article on your Facebook page: Don’t Hate: There are Healthy Ways to Deal with Travel Envy. That’s some shady education, if you ask us.
6. Send them informative articles
Speaking of articles, one easy way to respond to travel shamers is by sharing informative articles with them. Not all of us have the time to educate people thoroughly. Don’t fret — we’ve come up with all the explanations you’ll need. Here are some articles that might help:
- Real Travellers Share: Why You Should Travel At Least Once a Year
- Travel Prevents Burnout! Here’s Scientific and Medical Proof
- 10 Reasons Why Travelling Is A Form Of Self-Care
- Dear Friend Na Feeling Travel Influencer, Push Mo Lang Yan
7. Share more travel stories
When you respond to travel shamers with more travel stories, either one of these two things are bound to happen: They hate you even more and block you out of their accounts (not so bad!), OR they feel encouraged to travel, too (great!).
As a community that strives to inspire Filipinos to travel more, we never feel like there are too many travel stories to share. Most of the time, testimonials have a way of tugging at people’s heartstrings.
If informative articles and explanations aren’t working with your travel shamer, then share your travel stories with them instead. Let them know about the time you met a little Japanese girl who shared her ice cream with you. Or, talk about that time you went on a voluntourism activity. Most likely, your travel shamer will pick up something from your story.
“Okay, bye. I have a plane to catch.” Sometimes, your response doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. (And a lot of times, they deserve it.)
9. Defend others
Shame culture comes in all shapes and sizes. Travellers are not the only victims of this toxicity. Unfortunately, there will always be people who will shame others for their lifestyle choices. There’s fat-shaming, slut-shaming, period-shaming, smart-shaming, and all other types of shaming in this world.
Take a stand, and let people know that you do not tolerate any form of shaming. Hopefully, your travel shamers will take this as a sign that what they’re doing is wrong. If not, then soldier on. In a world full of gossip and judgment, be a light that will only encourage warmth. Having this type of mindset will also help you build stronger walls against judgmental travel shamers.
10. Keep travelling
Finally, keep travelling. If you aren’t stepping on anyone, just keep doing what you’re doing. Eventually, your travel shamers will get sick and tired of focusing too much on your life. (If they don’t, well that’s too bad — for them! Imagine wasting your time by getting too engrossed in another person’s life. That’s just sad!)
Shame culture may be prevalent, but there’s always a glimmer of hope for a more progressive community. Let’s keep our hearts full of love and light, and let’s learn how to deal with our travel shamers properly. Happy travels!