Uncertain times don’t take the spark out of life for some people.
Travel these days is riddled with second-guessing, over the top research and plenty of confusion, not to mention all of the logistics, travel restrictions and safety piled on top. To add even more fuel to the fire, you have to put up with everyone else’s opinion about your travel decisions.
Travelers who were once excited to to share what they would be getting up to on vacation right now may find happiness hampered by 2020’s latest plague: travel shaming.
Many people have taken to social media to share their experiences about traveling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite following state guidelines and providing medical proof and documentation, following rules did not seem to be enough to quash suspicion, especially among locals.
Merry White, a professor at Boston University who recently went on her vacation to rural Maine, said in an interview with The Boston Globe, “We found that the locals didn’t trust visitors. And the visitors didn’t trust the locals. The locals didn’t wear masks because they felt ’This is our village.’ So no one trusted anyone. We wore masks, and that marked us as outsiders.”
Many other travelers have shared their stories about receiving dirty looks or even being shamed for traveling. The Northeastern area of the United States is especially strict about its confusing and ever-changing list of travel restrictions. Many states have implemented who-can-go-where rules to protect its local residents from the virus.
Travelers have credited the shaming that comes from social media to have partially influenced their behaviors (such as wearing masks whenever they are out in public) even when they are among the only people doing so.
Krista Thomason, a Swarthmore College associate professor of philosophy and author of “Naked: The Dark Side of Shame and Moral Life” says that emotions and feelings beyond health risks—sometimes envy or anger— are what lead social media users to shame people.