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Maria Celina Gallo

I personally do not have a favourite type of travel-blog. Whether they belong to my fellow country people living in a foreign country, a foreigner writing about their experiences living in my hometown, a foreigner living in a foreign country or someone who is promoting their own country, I enjoy them all. All have their own merits. But all in all, I am inclined towards the message portrayed, not how a weblog post is physically made of (i.e. text and its length, images, video, sound clips, etc.). I believe the physicalities of how each post is presented is a reflection of the readers inclinations to giving out the intended message, and I do not believe in judging them for the best way the writer believes can send her/his message out.

I believe that every country has merits, whether it be in the arts, music, literature, sight-seeing or a combination. Those merits should be promoted because it strengthens foreign relations and because I personally believe that we are rather, our countries all connected in some way or another. This is why I believe word of mouth is also very important. What we say about a certain places though it could be from our own experiences can affect the way others look at it. What we say is more powerful than we fathom, even if the message was idly said or was intended for an effect.

With that said, I have learned to distrust travel-blogs that promote a certain country by putting down another. (Note this is different from making a comparative analysis that can be backed up with something objective!) I believe the best travel-blogs are filled with entries that promote places without having to resort to negativity of any kind. I have read travel-blogs that make short and subtle jabs towards another country the writer may hold a personal grudge against. Not only do I think it is unfair for the stigmatized country, but also for the country the writer may intend to promote, because what the writer says can mistakenly be a reflection of the mentality of the general people. I am aware of the reality that there are people who actually invest in the time to antagonise another nation, but if they want to promote the country of their choice, I believe they should be doing so without putting one country in the expense of another. I remember getting furious when reading entries that were pocked with such remarks, but now I just step back and find another site. If the writer wants to be consumed in their own hate or grudges, then let them but I don’t want to let that vexation take a toll on me.

There is also the use of false superlatives:[Name of country] is one of the most breath-taking places in the world. Really? While that is a nice thing to know, is there a chart of statistics that justify the claim? Is it a universally accepted principle? Can one really prove that, when people might have a different palate on what takes their breath away? If a person it not impressed but their breath is still within their possession, or have been impressed by another place, does it mean that they are wrong? While pride and a sense of national identity is a good thing to have, I believe one has to remember and understand that it differs from person to person. I have read passages that involve around the same words but with the addition of the following: I believe that. Subjectivity also reflects some honesty in the author, and I find that to be extra points in my book.

I understand that there are some travel-blogs that might be intended for certain audiences, but if the writer is intending to promote their country in a global basis, the writing, message and context should to follow suit. It has to cater to all potential readers, and that also means leaving behind as much of their sense of ethnocentricity, regardless of how subtle. (Refer to two paragraphs back.) Translations of original texts should be clearly pointed out and things should be made understood. If there are cultural aspects that are only fully comprehended within the country, that should be highlighted. Again, this depends on the target audience.

Personally, I know that I would have a difficult time starting and maintaining a travel-blog because of the pressure that comes in the last paragraph. This is why I keep my blog revolved around a subjective air. But the thing about the Internet is that it is a hub for a lot of subjectivity, where opinions are rampant and the opportunity to agree or disagree is made available, even though we might not let the writer know. Conversely, this also brings on a lot of misinformation, which is dangerous for people who cannot discern the integrity of the things stored in the digital ether. This is precisely why even though I am firm with my preferences on travel-blogs, it is the opinion of one person (me) and even if they are a truth that applies to me, there will be others that might beg to differ. But wanting a connection with another person, whether it be platonic or romantic, is inherent in the human condition, I am sure.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, January 14, 2013,


At 13:46, Anonymous Saima ashraf said...

Yes Maria 'every country has merits, whether it be in the arts, music, literature, sight-seeing or a combination'. Every coutry has its own unique flavors. Good to read you.

At 15:30, Blogger Sajini Chandrasekera said...

Enjoyed reading and i agree with you. Every country is blend with it's own uniqueness and every country has it's own beauty.


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