Saturday, March 7, 2015

sharing the world, even with tour buses

I thought about showcasing a series of photographs I took of the Church of the Good Shepherd that look a lot like this-- beautiful and remote and a little mysterious. 
But that would ignore one huge thing.
And that is this:
The Church of the Good Shepherd is a beautiful place and it is situated in a remote location along the shore of Lake Tekapo on the south island of New Zealand.
But that sure does not stop the tour buses from coming.

And I have to tell you, I am not proud of my attitude as I took the photo above.
Because it included a: eye roll, deep sigh + snotty remark.
I felt so annoyed that there I was, in the middle of nowhere at the end of the earth, and so was everyone else too.
Mostly because that was not how I imagined it.

But the truth is: this is everyone's world.
And I have to share it.

I have no more of a right to explore and appreciate and photograph this beautiful, remote, mysterious place than any other person, regardless of how they arrived.
Even if it's via tour bus.

And I think that's a lesson we all need to remember.
Is my culture one of tour buses and matching t-shirts and selfie sticks?
For the most part, no.
But that does not make mine better.
Thinking so only makes me ethnocentric.

The world has become a smaller place.
Planes take us to destinations that were once just drawings on a map.

Human beings are curious.
I love to travel.
So do a lot of other people.
So kind of like learning to share a favorite toy in preschool, I got over my snit and learned to share this landscape.

And you know what?
I still had a wonderful time and got some beautiful shots too.
There is room enough for us all.

Check out the Sunday Traveler link up for more travel writing! 


  1. I absolutely loved our time in New Zealand (we spent out entire trip on the north island) and have to say that the moments of quiet, peaceful time definitely outweighed the touristy times.

    ... and you're right, you did get some great photos! I love the close-up of the side side/roof of the building and the bell.

    PS - I found your blog on inspiration sparks. I, too, live in Okinawa with Laura!

    1. The north island was amazing! Hobbiton-- enough said!

  2. I love this post so much!! I feel the exact same way. Whenever I see tour buses pull up and all the people spill out and get in my pictures' way, I feel so annoyed. But then I'd catch myself and remind myself that they traveled far to get here too. And I don't have more of a right to be there than they do. But I can still get annoyed at the people who hog up prime photo taking spots with a million selfies on selfie sticks though. :P

    1. Hahaha! I think it will take some time for all of us to get used to the selfie stick.

  3. Great job getting some photos without people swarming in it :-) That's always my biggest beef with going somewhere heavily populated - all the random people in my photos.

    1. Thanks! I just thought of it as a photography challenge!

  4. I love the blue of the water in your shots! I try not to get annoyed with all the tourists either, but sometimes it can be a little too much, especially if they're everywhere. I never do well in a crowd and it just makes me feel really uncomfortable. But you're right, they're there for the same reasons as me and you so there's no need to get overly annoyed. If I really want a shot with no people I either a) go at a really weird time or b) take a whole bunch of photos and remove people as needed.

    1. The water is SO blue is it hard to believe.

      This church is so remote I was flabbergasted that tour buses would come. But I guess I shouldn't have been.

  5. Ha! I live in London, which is wall to wall people continually trying to hang out in the same places as me, tourists and residents, and then when I break out to the surrounding countryside with the kids, like I did last Sunday, it's wall to wall families doing exactly the same thing.

    My photos of our day are not half as good as yours though. Lovely.

  6. Lovely photos! I have to admit to some eye-rolling whenever I'm somewhere and a huge cruise ship comes into port and thousands disembark...but like you, I take a minute and remember that we all travel differently - there's no right or wrong way. And it makes for some creative camera angles to exclude the high-vis tops from your shots! Came via #sundaytraveler

    1. Yes, we ran into a few cruise ships in NZ but actually met a lovely cruising couple on a train trip! I think being open minded is the key!

  7. That is a beautiful spot! Even with the crowds you had great views and it looks like an amazing place to see!

  8. Hogging prime photo spots is just greedy, but we are all travellers desperate to see as much as we can huh!


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