Stereotypes in travel writing

baileys-antiquesAfter reading a recent Seattle Times travel piece that recommended particular activities for Baby Boomer and Millennial tourists in and around Waikiki, I’m writing a rant. (FYI, According to U.S. Census Bureau stats, in 2016, Baby Boomers’ ages range from 52-70, and Millennials’ from 16-33.)  This activity also provided a welcome distraction from worry about the outcome of today’s presidential election.

Dear Travel Editor,

Way to go with managing to stereotype older people in your recent piece listing things to do on Waikiki based on your age group. Your article also stereotypes the young, but my gripe is what you’ve decided is good for the former.

Let’s consider the activities you believe best fit these two populations.
1. Millennials, go surfing; Boomers, sit in a bar and watch the Millennials surf.
2. Millennials, climb Diamond Head; Boomers, taken in a free hula show.
3. Millennials, tour a ukulele factory; Boomers, take a tour of an old Hawaiian Palace.
4.Millennials, ride a vintage bike to the beach; Boomers, get a massage.
5. Millennials, go shopping for cheap stuff and visit Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts; Boomers, head for an upscale mall to buy “high-end crystal or fancy clothes.”

In other words, Millennials be active. Boomers, move as little as possible except to lift a mai tai to your lips or pull out your credit cards and shop away.

On several occasions, my Baby Boomer husband and I (born just after WWII) have somehow managed to reach the top of the Diamond Head Crater. Along the way we spotted many hikers who appeared to be in their early fifties. Imagine the stamina it must have taken for those aging bodies to drag themselves up the 1.6 mile trail.

As far as your Honolulu tour recommendations, my husband and I also visited a ukulele factory (different from the one on in your list).  I’m thankful we hadn’t read that this type of adventure was for Millennials, or we would have missed hearing stories from the son of the company’s founder about his father’s first ventures into the music business after traveling from the U.S. to Brazil and Portugal — to avoid being locked up in a Japanese internment camp during WWII –and discovering ukuleles in those countries.

Before I finish, I have to bring up the subject of shopping.  Okay. I admit that when in Honolulu we have never missed a visit to Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts. My husband’s closet is a testimonial that their shirts are not just for Millennials. As for your shopping ideas for my generation…Travel to the land of palm trees and orchids, stunningly blue water, crimson sunsets, and psychedelic fish to shop for high-end crystal? Really?


About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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1 Response to Stereotypes in travel writing

  1. Evelyn says:

    Yep, you hit it on the head. The writer hasn’t a clue about most of us boomers–and even older–who pursue very active lifestyles at home and abroad. Ah well, perhaps ignorance is bliss but sooner or later he/she will figure it out.

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