Secret lives, money secrets, beauty secrets… If there’s anything we love more than hearing secrets, it’s having our own. Secrets imbue the holder with an air of power, mystery and worldliness. And in no sphere is this more true than in travel: unique experiences and the ability to sniff them out are at the heart of our journeys. This is why we have such a love-hate relationship with giving our travel secrets up.
Case in point. My partner and I were driving around a beautiful but sparsely populated corner of Sardinia this spring, in the grip of ‘don’t say a word or I’ll bite your head off’ hunger pangs. Spotting an unprepossessing beachfront taverna, we pulled over and took a seat at one of the rickety tables. What followed was one of those Holy Grail ‘fresh from the sea, exquisitely cooked, owners joined us, stayed for hours, paid 9p (including wine!)’ experiences that exemplify a true travel find.
“Let’s not tell anyone about this place,” we vowed as we phone-photographed ourselves bathed in post-cuttlefish bliss, and smugly texted the images to all at home.
And therein lies the traveller’s dilemma: when you make an epic travel discovery, do you flaunt it or keep it secret? Because surely a secret is just that: information you don’t share. The trouble is we want the kudos of being the savvy traveller with a nose for sniffing out travel truffles. At the same time, we don’t want the masses cluttering up the view and driving up the prices by the time we return.
When I returned from Sardinia, I discovered a friend of a friend was going there. Of course I gave her loads of suggestions, but I did not mention the taverna.
I’ll be honest: I do feel bad about that. My kind Sardinian hosts deserve the business, and of course I want to help a fellow traveller. But who would she then tell?
The problem with being economical with the travel truth is we’re tripped up by technology. If only I hadn’t sent the picture! But phone-cameras, PDAs, not to mention travel blogs (blabs!) catch us at that dizzy flaunt stage. Family, friends in fact anyone with access to the internet, is in on our discoveries. Mobile technology has enhanced the community culture of travel, allowing us to share our experiences and suggestions on a virtually limitless scale.
But is this a good thing? Should we be so willing to divulge all our travel secrets?
And on the case of independent travellers, are we feeding and speeding along the ‘this used to be a fishing village now you can’t move for hotels’ mass-market transformation?
So enjoy Wanderlust’s exposure of travel secrets, and why not send us your own? But as you do, be honest – are you keeping your most treasured travel secrets… secret?
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