Many discussions of travel, post 9/11 can quickly become political. Why do I have to take my shoes off? Who influenced the U.S. Department of State to abolish the additional pages for our passport? Which political candidate for President will or will not restrict Visas?
And, it is a hot political season - not just in the United States - but in many parts of the world, such as Kenya. As of this posting, I have already had one of my favorite travel podcasts become extremely political about the U.S. Presidential Campaign. My Twitter™ feed has begun to have travel bloggers, whom I follow, discussing in their meager 140 characters “Social Justice Warrior” issues which have nothing whatsoever to do with travel.
In my opinion, there is a time and place for those discussions. When preparing and presenting a travel article, blog post, vlog, podcast, or even a Tweet, it is unnecessary. Rather, travel is about adventure, learning, exploring, or even escapism. Injecting political opinions into these discussions, no matter how passionate you are about politics, shows a sense of insecurity in your own beliefs and your weakness as an author.
At nearly half a century of age, I am old enough to remember when there was a time authors could present subjects and you would have to struggle to guess their political affiliation. Realistically, many people who write, blog, or podcast about travel are neither trained journalists nor, in some cases, trained writers.
The internet has opened up a world to everyone. While the egalitarian nature of the internet is wonderful, I am surprised how quickly some abuse the freedom with the need to inject politics into their work.
In the end, infusing politics in travel writing, no matter how good or pure the intentions, hurts the author. Unless the reason is to alienate part of your audience, taking stark political stands serves only the purpose of placing yourself in a tribe of which the listener to your message may not belong or even want to belong.
If your whole company or brand is built around travel, don’t bait & switch me into your political world. Let’s keep our social media agreements. You presented yourself to be, to me, wanting to share about travel. Let's just stick to travel, ok?
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