My New Year’s Resolution to End Travel Narcissism

By: Abena Bempah – Creative Director, Beautifully Flawed One

In 2017, I set foot in fifteen new countries.  I have the passport stamps and highly curated photos to prove it, too.   Unfortunately, I can’t say that I also have significant experiences to accompany every single stamp or image.  This is because I am guilty of being a travel narcissist; a term coined by Georg Papp in his article highlighting the rise of the look-at-me traveler.  

You don’t believe me?  Let me explain…

This December I FINALLY got the chance to visit the beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica.  Over the course of 6 days, I planned an itinerary which spanned almost every major parish in the country.  My schedule was already ambitious but torrential downpour over the course of two days further complicated things.  Since time was short, I visited two major attractions in one afternoon.  At Frenchman’s Cove, the majority of my time was spent taking over 200 photos (no exaggeration). When I had gotten what I needed, I left.   Later on, I hopped on a raft at the Blue Lagoon, and honestly my primary objective was to get the perfect shot.  After I was satisfied, my guide paddled me back to shore.

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Image Courtesy of Abena Bempah / Beautifully Flawed One

To be fair, it is my goal to create enough content for a blog and a travel guide.  But justifying my rabid traveling habits with this excuse would be disingenuous at best. More than documenting my experiences, I am semi-addicted to the likes, comments, and reposts on larger accounts that my social media feed generates.  Therefore I am often willing to forgo enjoying the present moment to capture it.  

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Image Courtesy of Abena Bempah / Beautifully Flawed One

And this is one of the chief symptoms of travel narcissism.

In 2018, however I am hoping going to find balance in my travels.  And here is how:

  1. I started sharing my journey as a way to find hidden beauty in this messy and flawed world.  I will remember my purpose through self-reflection while one vacation.
  2. Supposedly it is/was Jay-Z’s practice of recording songs in one take.  I’m not going to be that extreme, but I will set boundaries and time limits on my photography.
  3. Gratitude often jolts me back into the present moment.  I will take the time to acknowledge at least one thing I am thankful for about a location while I am at the site.
  4. Lastly, it’s difficult to enjoy the moment when I’m rushing.  I will prioritize quality over quantity by planning my itinerary to include more time at each location.

Hopefully, this changes the nature of my travels.  I’ll keep you updated.







Copyright © 2017 Brooklyn AL. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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