This time last week I was wandering the cobbled streets of Positano, a small village on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Positano rests almost on a steep cliff, with peachy green houses perched on top of each other on winding streets where local vendors sell limoncello and ice cream. colorful. Down there is a sandy beach where, if it’s warm (it usually is), you can swim in the clear waters of the Tirrhenian Sea.
Positano is blessed with a simple Mediterranean atmosphere and close proximity to luxury and luxury; it is home to one of the most famous and prestigious hotels in the world, and is the backdrop for Diane Lane’s whirlwind. Under the Tuscan Sun. Twenty years later, the city is ready for the biggest adventures of adventurers, closing every Instagram with photos of beautiful people on boats, looking back at the sky behind them .
It’s also the worst place I’ve ever been. There is little to do with the city itself, which has been home to villas and residences for European nobles since the Roman Empire but there are few signs of its past; our tour guide explained, “no history here, just relaxation and pictures.” Fewer than 4,000 people live in Positano, and they outnumber tourists three to one.
It’s also not the fault of the crowd, although like everywhere in Italy, they are becoming more and more inescapable, sometimes getting into a state of extreme claustrophobia that is the only way out. it is to separate yourself from your body and to separate yourself until you are there. when it reaches the open sky. But, the most disturbing thing about living in Positano is knowing that you are drunk, and knowing that because you have a way to go somewhere, it is not a number other than the balance of the basic economic flow.
Living in Positano as a middle-class person – someone who can travel and take time off work but can’t, say, buy a house in the city they live in – seems like madness for the belief that it can be improved, that living there is very beneficial to the lives of the people who live there.
The fact that there are more people traveling the world now than at any other time in history is not a bad thing; The luxuries afforded to the super-rich have been eclipsed by low-cost airlines and cheap deals on sites like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Expedia. For many people, the summer of 2022 will be their first trip to the world since the pre-Covid era, and despite the continued risk of travel with confusing and contradictory rules for the protection and vaccinations, international travel planning is imminent. Experience: Online travel agencies serve their users in more ways than ever, thus guaranteeing an experience that is accessible to the public. And if you can visit the best cities, eat at the best restaurants, and take the best pictures, why wouldn’t you?
Our cultural desire to have “the best” of everything is a subject that I find fascinating, but it’s different from going to, say, spending hours on the Wirecutter, checking out reviews of Amazon to find the best cats. Everyone trying to buy the best cat litter probably ends up on the same principle; the same cannot be said for restaurants or hotels, the number of people who can be there is limited.
The problem with travel today is not that there are too many people traveling in general, it’s that there are too many people who want to experience it because they all go to the same website. and read the same reviews. It felt like if you don’t visit this particular site or stay in this exact area, you’ve wasted all the money and time you’ve spent here, and you’ve decided on something that isn’t really right. good. already.
However in most cases it is true: if you ignore a large part of what is recommended by the internet, it is less likely that you will face the Positano problem. The greatest luxury, as a rich man knows, is the ability to separate himself from the crowd, so as not to be sidelined or noticed by ordinary people. In the age of algorithms, the only way to try to find some kind of pleasure is to take the buttons less and less.
A vacation is not, or at least, a to-do list, things to improve and reservations planned for months in advance, although this is what the trip means: If you don’t get a place reserved, must-see Florence museums and “you followed to eat here” the pasta places in Rome are inaccessible for those who don’t want to spend hours in line or are so crowded that it’s not worth staying there. Like other popular travel destinations that are flooded with wealthy tourists who take advantage of the low cost of local people who provide them with a one-of-a-kind experience hi, it’s a shame because the people who live there can’t afford the luxury. they are shopping.
Not only do I feel a little funny about living in Italy and considering how many people on my Instagram feed have the same thoughts this summer, I’m stupid that I didn’t know the competition of the everything, no. no matter how many recommendations you receive from friends or strangers online, these will also be sent to thousands of people who are sad to see you there and yourself .
The trip at this time is like going into a Chanel store and looking at all the beautiful clothes, maybe feeding on your shoulder, but not being able to wear it, always being watched by the those who do the work. to disenfranchise the non-ultra-rich. I’ve never been inside a Chanel store because I know better than to shop somewhere I can’t afford, but I haven’t learned this lesson yet from travel.
Everything about how business works now – writing websites, credit cards, Chase points, Instagram – we believe possible You can visit a place like Positano, and it will look as glorious as the photos taken from the most expensive homes. Being close to luxury is not the same as experiencing it. The truth is, we are troubled by something that we didn’t deserve in the first place, but we feel like we deserve it.
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