THE RISK OF SELFIE SATISFACTION
The signs are there in plain sight at the entrance to every room. The one I can read says, “Do not touch the artwork.” There are other messages in French, Spanish and Italian. The Japanese and Chinese characters are there too, as is Arabic script. Low level powers of deduction suggest they agree with the English sentiment: “Do not touch the artwork.”
For those who might not speak the aforementioned languages there is also a simple hand icon in a red circle with a slash through it. It’s a universal symbol for – plot twist! – “Do not touch the artwork”. Yet it seems in galleries, museums and monuments all over the world there are people who think this small instruction applies to everyone but them.
Same goes for cautionary directives in other public spaces around the globe: do not climb, follow the path, do not feed the animals, no swimming, no photos, no flash, no food or drinks, please refrain from talking, and so on all seem to be met as recommendations rather than rules.
While these tourist abberations rarely cause too many problems, they do sometimes result in disaster or tragedy (“Tourist plunges to death from cliff while taking selfies”) or priceless breakage (“Tourist destroys ancient statue of king in quest for perfect selfie”).
For this week’s cover story, Celeste Mitchell, one of Escape’s favourite and most well-travelled contributors, tackles the topic of “How to be a better traveller”. Once you’ve had a chance to read it, we’d love to hear about your encounters on the road, sea or in the air. Understanding the good, bad and baffling behaviour of other travellers will help us improve our own.
JANA FRAWLEY, NATIONAL TRAVEL EDITOR