Politics and travel Blogs: A toxic Mix?

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“Ideally, travel broadens our perspectives personally, culturally, and politically. Suddenly, the palette with which we paint the story of our lives has more colors.”
Rick Steves “Travel as a political Act”

I am a firm believer in the power of travel to change minds and lives. I have experienced it myself many times. These changes have also deeply affected how I see the world. I have also had many spirited debates in hostels with people all over the world about the political hot topic of the day. So I know that travel and politics can coexist. But Travel blogging and politics? Well on that one, I am not so sure. So far, and quite possibly forever onward I have not really discussed my own personal worldview on this blog. That has been by design. I want Globetrottinggranpa.com to be a place where everyone can read about travel (and sometimes health/fitness and poetry) without political input and regardless of their own personal views. But if I am being honest, I am somewhat torn between wanting to create a politically free zone (and not alienating my readers at a time I am trying to build my blog) and being true to myself. Anyone who is friend with me on my personal Facebook page already knows my zeitgeist since I am pretty politically outspoken there. Also if you ever meet me in person and we have more than a cursory conversation you will be able to pick up on my leanings pretty darn quick. But here on this page. I’m not so sure so I thought I would present the Pro and Con of opening up this page to occasional political content.

Cons

Politics are pretty divisive with very little to be gained by discussing it. If you see the world differently than I do. I am not so presumptuous to think I am going to change your mind.  And quite frankly, I don’t really even want to. I figure you have come to your views honestly, and that your life’s experiences, cultural and perhaps religious background has colored how you see the world the same as it has me. If I were in your shoes perhaps i would see things exactly the same way.

Rick Steves is someone I admire. He is a pioneer if the travel and travel blogging arena. He also has never shied away from stating how he feels politically. Every time he post something political on Facebook he has several hundred people who angrily ‘unfriend’ him. He has over 536K followers on Facebook so he can afford to take the hit. If I had several hundred people ‘unfriend’ me or stop following this blog. I would be in a deficit.

It’s also not really what this blog is about. I love a debate and lively discussion, even if you don’t view things like I do (maybe even especially if you don’t view things like I do) but at least in my home country of the USA in the last few years political discussions have seemed to have lost their civility. People get personal and often say things they regret later (or at least should). Lots of feelings get hurt. I want this to be a place above the rabble. Besides, I am a firm enough believer in the power of travel to change minds ina much more persuasive way than I ever could. to quote Mark Twain (one of my favorite writers)

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
– Mark Twain

Sorry that is so big. But it is a big Idea. And my computer cut and paste thingy is messed up.  Travel is a much better teacher than I can ever be. I figure if people get out and see the world, it will change them for the better, and that is beyond politics.

Pros:

To thine own self be true. I feel some things very strongly. There are things going on it the world that make me want to yell “Hold! Enough!”.  Part of me feels like if this blog is to become successful I will have to not worry about what everyone thinks, and realize that along the way people might take umbrage and peel off. I can’t be all things to all people. I must have my own unique voice, love me or hate me.

There are several very successful writers and bloggers in the travel field who are quite outspoken, Rick Steves, there’s a lady named Adventurous Kate who has a blog  I just love who has always been very clear about her political views, even Anthony Bourdain was never shy when expressing his views political and otherwise. It takes a certain strength to say “this is me, love me or hate me, I don’t care”. Right now, I just want to build a blog. But it won’t fly if people who read my posts feel like I am insincere or obsequious. This is my blog and it needs to be my voice.  My real voice.

For now and the indefinite future (isn’t the future always indefinite?) I will continue to just focus on upbeat travel with a decidedly human interest/pop culture bent and keep the political commentary to my personal Facebook page, BUT when I travel if I see or learn something that I feel in my heart is unjust, I will not be able to avoid discussing it here. I am essentially a self deputized reporter and my “beat” is travel, so if it affects my brief then I have no choice but to express it and most likely at a high volume. I can not do otherwise.

silhouette of four person with flag of united states background
Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

 

 

 

10 Replies to “Politics and travel Blogs: A toxic Mix?”

  1. Great discussion of tough topic. It’s a debate I have struggled with too over the past few years in particular. Before that, I stated my political case forcefully and took the consequences, usually a hit. Now I try to see things a bit more holistically and creatively. I’m not sure you can take politics or any other human intellectual category out of any thought, statement or action. I think it reduces to intention and presentation. You can confront and oppose, which tends to arouse people’s survival instincts (thinking fast) or you can just relate and show the result of your own actions and experiences,letting others react as they will (thinking slow). But, yep, some people will see any approach and presentation as an assault on their beliefs…. used to be one myself 🙂

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      1. Absolutely – I associate thinking fast with the beast in me and thinking slow as it’s antithesis, but both are stages in a creative process (if that makes any sense at all!). And humour is maybe the best of life’s lubricants, though there are many 😀👌

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  2. I agree with you. I tend to shy away from mixing politics with my blog too, but who knows what the future holds. It’s always a big risk – exciting and scary if you take it! Great thoughtful post 👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I figure eventually even if I try not to, something will slip in. But I do want the blog to be something everyone can enjoy. I figure if you like to travel you’re already pretty openminded.

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  3. Only on two of my blogs have I brought politics into it. As a person who has traveled overseas, I want people to see MY country,United States and how beautiful we are in spite of our politics. I try to not bring politics into it but given our political climate here in the United States and all these countries telling their people NOT to come here, it saddens me to no end and I just have speak up on it in some, but not all of my posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a difficult balance. I have very strong political views but I want my blog to be a place where everyone regardless of their personal views can come and enjoy. But if I see something or read anything that I feel could bring harm to someone and especially if it pertains to travel, I feel like I must speak up.

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