Sooner or later, whether you are a tourist or a travel blogger, you will end up in the same places as everyone else.
There are some misgivings about that, many complaints (especially now that selfies are being taken everywhere), various philosophical discussions – but also good reasons.
1: Night at the Bund, the Ordinary View
There is something to places where people congregate; and where people flock, there must be something.
It is the network effect that makes certain social media phenomena suddenly go viral and certain people get popular, made manifest in a place.
The result are photos that are all the same, sights that have been seen a thousand times without ever having been there…
And so, being in Shanghai, we went for a stroll along the Huangpu River to the Bund, at night.
Like a few thousand other people.
The #GetAtHome View Less Ordinary
Even as I don’t think it’s necessarily good we people nowadays travel quite as easily and as much as many of us do, I don’t think we should feel bad for wanting to see popular sights with our own eyes.
Superficial though it may be, there is something to be said for having seen something oneself, having taken one’s own picture of something snapped a billion times before, putting oneself in there.
Yes, maybe the selfie is becoming sacrilegious.
Maybe it is a sign of increasing narcissism.
Maybe, however, we could do worse than to put ourselves into the center of our world.
I wish, from an ecological perspective, that we would do that more, and less superficially.
If you want to #GetAtHome, to make yourself at home in this world, to come to understand it and your place in it better and learn to live better in the process, then you need to put yourself into this world.
And you are looking at it with yourself at the center, anyways. That’s how we exist.
You just have to understand that this doesn’t mean things had to go the way you wanted.
2: The Other View of the Bund
Also, there are fascinating solutions to the problem of seeing things the same as everyone else, and not wanting to.
One solution I will yet want to talk about separately: Learn more, supplement your adventuring and travels out there with a bit of armchair adventuring, and you may well gain a deeper understanding that makes for different views of things.
The simple solution I took to seeing the Bund and the skyline of Pudong differently:
I went out there again the next morning, long before sunrise, to see what it was like at that time and to try and make a timelapse of the sunrise.
Well, what shall I say?
It was fascinating to do some people watching this way, and all the more fascinating as there were so few people.
And I got lucky and had the perfect sunrise in the perfect place.
But for that, you really should watch the video.