Last year, husband and I visited an old Eastern Orthodox Monastery in town called Zica, near Kraljevo. It dates back to 1206 and is a memorial to Serbian King Stefan I. Its a significant, spiritual place run by nuns…and few stray cats. As we were leaving the premise through this tunnel like exit adorned in religious frescoes, the walls have been scratches and defiled with people’s scribbles, name engravings, knives and whatever else they used to desecrate those walls. We both stood disgusted.
No manners, no sense of propriety, no respect.
I tried to put myself in the mind of someone who deemed it appropriate to engrave their shitty, basic name into a wall older than some countries in the world.
Tourism is getting worse and worse by the year. Millennials love their “experiences” and are traveling more than they are saving or investing into properties. That is not a bad thing. You do you boo. But this increase in travel, social media, and chase for the “perfect” photo for Instagram has turned us into perpetrators of destruction, selfishness, and greed.
“Rules do not apply to me.”
“If there is a long waiting line, I’ll find a way to cut it.”
“’ do not cross’ sign – f*ck you, I’m gonna cross it.”
These are the same folks who cross zoo barriers to take selfies with wild animals. And most of the time, the animal is the one that’s euthanized.
These people, these kids (blaming the parents for the kids) do not give rats ass about the world. For me personally, its as simple as that. You may accuse me of oversimplifying complex human nature but SOMETIMES, people are selfish, pieces of s*it who do not care for anything or anyone but themselves.
Their goal is not to preserve, learn, feel joy without a need to destroy - their motives are empty, ignorant and some downright dangerous.
This particular Monastery is small example of what this post is about. I see it every year once warm season starts. Tourists flooding sacred places, littering and destroying natural resources, endangering rare trees, animals and plants - for likes on Instagram.
I love a good photo op. You love a good photo op. Who doesn’t? But not a single one of my photos has contributed to destruction, interruption and unnatural deviation to our delicate ecosystems.
If your photo is trampling over flowers, rare artifacts, endangered trees, riding elephants, holding big cat baby cubs or any other wild animals – your photo is a self-serving, egregious monument to fuckery and ignorance.
Wanna ride an elephant in Thailand? Well…wild elephants will not allow for humans to ride them, so what people do is BEAT the babies into submission, and the process is called “Phajaan” or “The Crush.”
The baby is separated from its mother and BEATEN until its spirit evaporates. The babies are also starved and deprived of sleep. That’s what you are riding. They are endangered species that will perish in our lifetime because we hunted them down. You can go to national parks and interact with elephants in the way that is safe for you and humane for the animal while enjoying full experience of these magnificent creatures.
Wanna take selfies with grown tigers and baby cubs? Know that they are also beaten, drugged beyond comprehension, starved and deprived of sleep.
There are countless resources out there for you to educate yourself on how to be a responsible tourist. This year and forever after.
Here is an interesting and necessarily crass Instagram account (joshuatreeshateyou) shaming and showcasing bunch of assholes defiling natural resources, Joshua Trees in particular. If you want to feel extra rage today, visit it and see what TRASH we have become as humans.
To summarize: be a responsible tourist. Follow and respect the signs. Get permits when necessary. Do not ride or pet WILD animals. Do not litter. Clean up after yourself. Is that really so hard? Is defiling the only way you feel joy in the nature, architecture and arts?