Why It’s Important to Write About the Destinations You Didn’t Love
A few years ago I taught English in the Caribbean… Guadeloupe to be exact. And although it’s a sunny island in the middle of the Caribbean, to be perfectly honest, my time spent living there wasn’t the most enjoyable. Actually living on an insular island and having a daily routine is much different than spending a lazy vacation sipping cocktails on the beach, and that everyday livelihood didn’t exactly meet my expectations.
So when I told my mother that I was going to write a story on what not to do while traveling in Guadeloupe she responded with, “What are you going to say? Don’t go there?!” I laughed and gave my usual answer:”even though I didn’t have a good time, doesn’t mean other people can’t.”
Which brings me to my main point: sometimes writing about a place that you don’t love is a fantastic exercise. You’re forced to choose a bit more objectivity over subjectivity, and soon you’re remembering a plethora of positive aspects, putting your negative memories aside and crafting a piece that allows others to be intrigued by your destination.
In the end, travel is about experience, and as travel writers, it’s important to inspire those experiences. It doesn’t matter if travel experiences are positive or negative, they are always going to be eye-opening, educational and shape who we are, and every individual has to discover that on his/her own, which is why it’s perfectly fine to write about those destinations you didn’t love.
So on that note, here’s an excerpt from What Not to Do in Guadeloupe, published over on Matador Trips — an article that made me just a tad bit nostalgic for a place that I never really liked living in to begin with.
Don’t… assume people speak English
As an overseas French department, Guadeloupe’s official language is French, but don’t think this makes visiting the island like traveling in Europe.
Although it’s a common stereotype that the French resist speaking English, getting by in Paris without too much of a grasp of French is definitely doable. On Guadeloupe, English is much harder to find.
Do… learn some key French phrases before you go
The locals will give you a genuine smile if you make an effort to speak French. With a simple “bonjour,” “merci,” some survival phrases like “how much does this cost?” and the obligatory traveler’s hand gestures, you’ll do just fine.
Don’t… go food shopping at major grocery stores
Although Guadeloupe is home to plentiful bananas, pineapples, melons, and other tropical delights, large grocery stores often carry imported goods, meaning your avocados just might be from Spain.
Do… browse the Pointe-à-Pitre market
The market in Guadeloupe’s largest city is where it’s at. You’ll find fresh-picked fruits and tons of seafood straight from the surrounding waters.
Expect a lot of market women trying to attract you towards their stalls with their warmhearted “Venez voir ici cheri!” — “Come look over here dear!”
You can read the whole article here.