“Everywhere you go, I’ll follow you down.” – The Gin Blossoms
I’m back for another dose of inspiration on your Sunday despite a completely ridiculous week of broken laptops. I get slated for posts like this all the time and just because the majority of you don’t like them, doesn’t mean I am going to stop, as ever, this is my blog. When I travel, I travel to find the coolest places, the most unique places, places where I truly feel I am travelling. I don’t travel to follow the tourist trail to become an ass-licker or to become a consumer. I’m in the same mindset as my friend Julio (the guy who swapped his camera for a cow). I don’t want to become a consumer. I don’t want to be a follower when I travel. I want to be the leader. I want to lead myself to wherever I want and not follow others who have gone somewhere and went “wow this was amazing”, “it might surprise me”. Bollocks to that.
If you see another traveller or blogger going to New York, then Paris, then Berlin, then Bangkok you can be sure they are followers of others. They are not leaders. They are not doing their own thing – they are following a trend of popularity. What happened was they saw that Paris was popular. They saw a photo of it on Facebook 1000 times, they saw a travel blog post about the Eiffel Tower 1000 times and they wanted some of that. So they followed. They did what others did. They couldn’t make up their own mind so they became a follower.
“You can’t argue with popularity, well you could, but you’d be wrong” – Robbie Williams
They will then go to Paris, share the post and photo 1000 times on Facebook Twitter, Instagram, you name it. Things SNOWBALL. They become a travel legend and the touristic site gets even more popular.
“Wow you saw the Eiffel Tower amazing”
“I am so jealous you backpacked through Paris”
“I’d love to go to Paris one day”
Take your finger out of their ass please. A blogger posts about Bangkok, then others head to Bangkok, share the post and photo 1000 times and they get rewarded with legendary backpacker status again.
“Wow I would love to go to Bangkok, it looks amazing”
“Unbelieveable, sunset in Bangkok”
“Wow this is like the coolest city ever”
Sadly, it’s a Followers Snowball world. Someone says something is good, others assume them to be right and they go and do them. They tell more people and more and more people go. And everybody loves it and everybody loves to lick their asses too!
Travel becomes too easy. You don’t even need a visa, or a travel guide book, or a map. As soon as you arrive in Paris, you can get it all there and more. Easy and amazing!!!
Not so. You’ve fallen into the trap of becoming a travel follower, not a leader. So if you can take anything from reading my stories, it is to do things for yourself for once, go where there are no other tourists, go where there is no map. If you want to be a long term traveller or blogger that has earned respect from others, you’ll need to go against the flow. You’ll need to stop being a follower. Take control for once. Be the leader. Be the first tourist to go backpacking in Austenasia, not the 10 millionth to go backpacking in Bangkok.
There’s a Mosque in Adana in Turkey 100 times more beautiful than the Blue one of the Sophia one in Istanbul, yet the Sibanci Mosque in Adana lies empty from foreign backpackers every day because the snowball kids followed the crowd and headed to the Bul instead of doing their own thing.
And on a final note, of course I’d rather someone went travelling to Bangkok, Istanbul or Paris than nowhere at all, but there’s no heroes medals awarded to a backpacker with 2 weeks experience of Khaosan Road and a hat trick of days in Paris taking selfies of the Trifle Tar and a brace of morning crescents. Hence why I personally read the blogs of KatieAune, Stephen Lioy and Ulsterman in PolandUlsterman in Poland. They are leaders in the world of travel and with Don’t Stop Living I aim to be too. I don’t want to follow that touristic crowd down to Disneyland for a DickMonalds and a Ratsbux.
Be the leader just for today, you can go back to following tomorrow. Try it – you might just love it.
I’m off to outback China and the Faroe Islands next. I’ll add Bournemouth into the equation to get my following fix 😉