As a blogger, I spend a lot of time putting myself out there. Whether it be on social media or sharing personal things on this blog, being vulnerable is a big part of being a genuine blogger, and I suppose, a genuine human.
But putting yourself out there is always a catch 22. Most of the time, it means you share things that people can relate to – many times I’ve gotten messages from people thanking me for sharing my story, because it helps them feel less alone.
Other times, putting yourself out there means people offer up unsolicited opinions, sometimes insults, and they can say hurtful things – whether they mean to or not.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned on my Instagram stories that I was planning a trip to New York City. It will be my first trip to the city.
Immediately, I started getting messages about things I should do, museums I needed to visit, and Broadway plays I had to see.
While I know, most likely, these messages were meant in kindness, I never asked anyone for ideas on things to do in the city. I also got messages from people saying things NOT to do, such as visit Times Square.
Umm, what? When I replied saying I am actually staying in Times Square, the person said, “Oh, I would cancel. Immediately.”
Okay. The cost of my four-night stay is more than I pay for my month’s rent in Austin. It’s non-refundable, and you want me to cancel my plans because YOU don’t like Times Square??
Even when I told people in person I was planning a trip, every single one of them told me I HAD to see “Dear Evan Hansen” on Broadway. If you’re keeping up with Blanche’s Book Club, I just finished reading the book. While I thought the book was good, it wasn’t good enough for me to run to Ticketmaster.com and buy a ticket to see the show.
“Oh but it’s SO good!” They would say. Okay, well, do you know how much a ticket to see it costs? On the discount sites, seats range from $150-$500.
I am not sure what kind of vibe I give off, but I’m sure as hell not in a financial situation to buy a $500 ticket for a play I am pretty sure I won’t enjoy.
Instead, I bought tickets to see The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, “Mean Girls” and “Book of Mormon” both on Broadway – all three of those tickets cost me less than one ticket for “Dear Evan Hansen”. When I relayed this news, the response was, “Oh, well, ‘Mean Girls’ is nothing like the movie.”
Okay, I guess I shouldn’t go see it then (NOT).
Let’s say I did buy a ticket for a show and then hated it, and then I’d go to ALL the people that said I had to see it. What would they say then? “Oh, well maybe you didn’t sit close enough”, or “Oh, well I loved it, sorry you didn’t.”
No. This is MY trip.
If you have something you think I need to do or see, then that is what a sponsored post is for. You can absolutely buy me a ticket to see a play or buy me dinner if you want me to have that experience. Otherwise, I will plan my trip according to me, my interests, and I’ll spend my money how I see fit.
I would also like to point out that not a single person that offered me travel advice has a blog. If you’ve got so many opinions about travel, perhaps it’s time to get started on creating a space for those opinions.
Then I can decide if I want to read it or not. Let me give you a hint: NOT.
Why? I have been fortunate enough to travel many places. Many of those places, I’ve gone to by myself, and I’ve also planned those trips on my own. I know me best; I know what I like to do.
When I take a trip, I’m taking it because there’s something I want to get out of it, and that something is my experience – not anyone else’s.
In college, I wanted to go to Los Angeles for the first time. None of my friends had the money or really wanted to go. So, I booked a trip alone.
“Don’t go downtown,” they said.
“LA is dirty,” they said.
“You have to rent a car,” they said.
“People in LA are mean,” they said.
Guess what? I got a hotel downtown. I didn’t rent a car. And I loved every damn second of my trip.
So yes, I’m staying in Times Square! I’m not going to the Met. I’m not going to see “Dear Evan Hansen”.
Instead, I’m doing a ton of other things that I think will be fun – and maybe they won’t be – but I’ve got to discover it for myself.
If I need advice, I’ll ask for it. I have asked one person for advice on practical things such as, “What’s the best way to get from the airport to Manhattan?” and, “Will people spit on me if I wear athlesuire?”
It could just be me, but the next time someone tells you they’re planning a trip, simply wish them well. If you’ve been to where they’re going, you can just say, “Let me know if you need any tips!”
I’ll be sharing a few things on my New York City itinerary here on the blog this week. If you’re heading to New York any time soon, maybe they will be helpful, maybe they won’t be.
But that’s the thing about this blog, you absolutely have no obligation to read it.