20 April 2018

Reddit Travel Rants, No. 12: Not so Hidden Gems

People want to look for hidden gems. All the time. You know, they are going to a very popular destination, like Paris, and they want to go to places that are hidden gems. It's this "I was there first!" mentality. And somehow I don't get it.

The other day, I saw someone post a picture of Vernazza in Reddit, where the caption said that it was a quiet afternoon in a hidden gem. But excuse me, didn't the local authorities already put a tourist quota in Cinque Terre, because Cinque Terre was getting too saturated with tourists? Vernazza might be a gem, but it isn't as hidden as you think.

When I was living in Buffalo, there were these little art festivals that happen annually in the city. Almost every painter who had a booth selling their wares had a painting of Cinque Terre. They always had that canvas, where you see the colourful houses perched on the side of a cliff, facing the sea. A lot of people know where it is. It's definitely not as hidden as one might think.

Again, I wonder what it is that drives these people to seek the illusion of rarity. I suppose humans just have an inherent need or desire to have something the other does not have. Whether it is a rare car, or a rare travel destination. They would even go to great lengths claiming that one went to a rare travel destination when one actually didn't. And when one sees this in light of the fact that people now seem to choose their vacation destinations based on how instagrammable it is, as well as the fact that some people also would even fake their social media photos just to say that they have been to some place amazing, then I really wonder whether these people are traveling for themselves, or whether they are just traveling for online self-gratification.

Anyway, I'll stop ranting now. I'll just go to my balcony in my flat here in Berlin. Berlin is a touristy city, but my balcony is actually a hidden gem. I just won't tell anyone where it is.


  1. Everybody wanna be special these days... Now, tell me: where is that balcony of yours? I'll tell about it on every single social network I can think of, which is for most people the point of finding a "hidden gem" :-D

    1. Zhu,

      Shhhh! It's in the former west, but for the most part, many people prefer the former east anyway, so I am not sure people would trek here to check it out. :)