on media & travel anxiety

Somewhere in Colmar
When my sister-in-law was planning their holidays in Europe, there were some concerns about safety. It has been 18 years since we moved out of Paris, and 6 years since I last went - an idea of a city, or the country's current ambience are all drawn from the media, or from a friend of a friend of a friend.  So, I sent her a video I found online on the latest scams going on in Paris. There is nothing more powerful now than the media, or the social media  grapevine.

We have never been so informed of the situation of the world. Different mediums, several sources, and many truths. At the height of the Gilets Jaunes protests, we've seen so much discrepancy on the information given on television, online or on print. Some contested videos and debates, but what does it all mean? And all the other information available to us?

My husband mentioned how he was a bit worried going around Colmar in Alsace with 6 Asian women. We had an unusually bright sunny day, a temperature of 29°C, and an unexpected crowd for the season. Not even once did we feel threatened, or unsafe. Just a bit disappointed with the amount of tourists. Apparently, my husband have always had a different idea of the town. We all have, even if we haven't been to these places.

Somewhere in Manila
Manila have always had a bad reputation, it sparks all sorts of fear. I'm also uneasy every time I come home to visit, then it's always never that bad once you're there. The Philippines have never really been the first choice of holiday destination for the expats I've met. Sensing their anxiousness in traveling around the islands, and it's always not easy to get around 7,100 of them. To some degree, we all have travel anxiety which are partly fueled by the information we know of a certain place. 

The news. It has never been so accessible in so many platforms. It's becoming more bold, and some as audacious as it is have become normal. Virtually everybody can provide documented information. We rely on stories from a friend of a friend of a friend. Sometimes I worry how information circulate this way. The worst part is how we share it on social media platforms, reposting without confirming the validity of said information. We have never had an era where too much information is readily available in one click, or a lack of it where it really matters. I have been getting more and more depressed of actually knowing what is happening around the world, and that fear of a place I have not even been. Media anxiety. 

Somewhere in Singapore
What we have is a very powerful tool. It can bring us to places, and we have never been more connected than before. So connected that friendships were broken due to a difference of political or religious opinion. So connected that we have somewhat lost trust. And it started with, "I heard it's not safe to go to Paris?" Or, "I heard Manila is dangerous?" What else more do we hear that question our awareness?

Responsible reading, my husband tells me over and over, "too much work", I say. Responsible reading.   


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.

1 comment:

  1. I miss reading your blog and I am glad you have a new post :)! This year the weather is exceptionally crazy, we had the heatwave and it was difficult for everyone but most especially the vulnerable older people and babies. Can you imagine that even end October (which is normally fall so weather should be a little fresh) people are wearing shirts. And yes not to mention all the protests going on in France but I am glad you all enjoyed your stay in Europe it's just so bad that you were not able to pass by Marseille. Anyway, on to your next trip ;) !