We’re Sundamaged, the anti-travel travel magazine
Sundamaged is a place for new voices about travelling, celebrating the wonder of nature and cultural discovery, but also exploring the impact of travel. Travelling can be a day trip, it can be a long journey on foot that has no fixed end point, or it can be a destructive force. All these interpretations are welcome here. We are currently open for articles, essays, CNF, fiction and prose poetry!
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
This 152-year-old quote by Mark Twain is still used all over the internet to equate travel with virtue, without much critical analysis of the author or the sentiment. Being exposed to other cultures and a diverse range of people does make people less prejudiced, but is that what travel has ever really been about?
Travelling is seen as cultured and aspirational, something that you have to do before you die, but for the majority of people travelling the world isn’t ever going to be possible. The colonialist legacies of travelling are still being played out, through voluntourism, damaging nature and wildlife, degrading spiritually important places, depleting natural resources, and eroding local cultures. As well as this, fast-travel on planes and cruise ships is destroying the planet.
Like most middle-class, white people in the UK, I grew up thinking that exploring the world was a vital experience. But when I saw teenagers on a gap year posting unconsensual photographs of locals on Facebook and making fun of their appearance, I realised that simply being privileged enough to travel didn’t mean you were less bigoted or narrow-minded. When you live somewhere like London you don’t need to go abroad to experience different cultures, but visiting wonders like the Neasden Temple or supporting local cultural events has never been romanticised in the same way that travel is.
I re-thought my aspirations to travel the world. When this has come up in conversation, reactions have always been confused. One man called the idea of not being interested in travel ‘vapid’. I’m still trying to explore whether this is true, and I hope Sundamaged can be an inclusive space where others can explore that too.