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November 16, 2009


Charles Conlan

Well said...

Mary Jo

What a wonderful analysis of other ways to look at the same issue. I'm all for civil discourse and debate, something lost long ago in both the private and public discussion of the topic.

I truly hope that this sniping will end. Before aggravation becomes something far more intolerable.

Dian Emery

I love it when someone takes everything that is swirling around in my head and puts it down on paper(or a computer)!

Thank you for this, it is exactly how I felt about the whole mess, we really must treat each other in a civilly and conduct ourselves in a professional manner or else we will run the risk of losing the respect of the travel community.

Donna Hull

Thank you for a thoughtful analysis on the whole twitter travel controversy. Sadly,it reflects on our culture where listening to the other side, acknowledging that different opinions on the topic exist and participating in civil debate no longer exists.


Great analysis of this topic, although it could be applied to almost everything that is swirling around us right now economically, politically, environmentally, ect. Byron Katieś The Work has helped me to see that what I get the most upset about when turned around has the most impact on teaching me about me. These folks that use personal attacks and non-rational methods of communicating with others are in deep pain. They are pretty ignorant that the issue is about them, not so much about whatever issue they are going ballistic about. I worked on small cruise ships years ago. The teachings about the natural world and the emotional connection people made to the animals they saw were tremendous. Life is just not black and white. There are many sides...glad I found your blog!

Christine Gilbert

Small correction... I wasn't on that trip.

Leigh Shulman

My apologies, Christine. I assumed you were after reading your replies on the Matador Change article, particularly your need to set the record straight.

Yes, I know you mention in one of the later comments that you were not part of the cruise, but that post hadn't been added until after I wrote this article.

Either way, I appreciate any input you have to the discussion and will remove you from my list of links here.

Brenna Redpath

I just discovered your blog, and am glad of it. I feel the need to respond in particular to Donna's comment that "acknowledging that different opinions on the topic exist, and participating in civil debate no longer exists."

I believe that it's not true, although I connect with the feeling! I do, however, think that those people who tend to be self-absorbed naval-gazers, and who shout their superiority from the mountaintops, shout more loudly than those who assume that other opinions are valid besides their own, and that they surely can learn from others. Intelligent, thoughtful debate can only happen when you feel that you are among your equals, not looking down on the idiots who don't get it.

Just yesterday I was on Huffington Post, reading William Bradley talk about the changing world of Twitter, and saw that a soul traveling "Mountain-topper" has started a comment with these words:

"Well written, but totally clueless! The writer and all the comments are all by people who have not spent enough time on Twitter to figure it out."

Seems to some people - we're all idiots.


Very well put. I had just confirmed my "graduation cruise" with Princess (for travel agents who complete their online training) when I found the #followmeatsea. It had already gotten ugly. I am not a frequent cruiser, but many consumers are. It is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry. Cruises are easy, affordable, and entertaining. Very little that came out of the backlash was specific enough to help a consumer who wanted to be greener make an educated choice. How can we know which is the greener option? How can we nudge cruise lines to behave greener? Most travel is environmentally problematic until a realistic alternative to fossil fuels is found for airplanes, cars, buses, trains, and ships. I always vote with that in mind. Until government and industry get serious about that issue we will not have truly green options for our travel.


This thoughtful post inspired my latest blog post on matador.
thank you :)


I read the Huffington Post you mentioned and saw the comment you mentioned: "Well written, but totally clueless! The writer and all the comments are all by people who have not spent enough time on Twitter to figure it out."

It is clear to me that this person is "totally clueless" when it comes to common decency, respect, and social manners. After relentlessly spewing insults that damaged long-term friendships and prejudging everyone on #followmeatsea in a sad attempt at self promotion (and from what I've read, quite successful at becoming a target for ridicule and turning people off from what would've otherwise been a noble cause), it's also clear from the many posts that this person is innately negative, mean spirited and hasn't learned to play nice with others....but karma has its ways.... No one can put themselves out there repeatedly in such negative light without eventually finding themselves totally alone in the dark.

Leigh Shulman

Thank you, Dian. That's a huge compliment in my book.

I will say, though, this whole debate has made me -- and others I've spoken to -- reexamine the travel writing community.

One refrain I hear is people wondering if they're really even a part of it. I don't know if that reflect a desire to create distance between themselves and the nuttiness or if it reflect a closed nature of the community.

Or something else altogether.

Leigh Shulman

I truly hope that's not the case.

Leigh Shulman

So true. Anger and upset tends to come from whatever is going on in the angry, upset person. And their reflection/expression of that anger tells a lot.

I have seen many, though, who have continued to speak positively and have not veered from their original goals for the cruise. Such as giving school supplies to children in Roatan (as I believe @galavanting has done). Or the general discussion going on now focusing on eco-neutral or green resorts and other ways to travel.

Leigh Shulman

When I see posts of that sort, I tend to ignore them. Reminds me of a guy I saw walking his dogs. They were these two, cute and very old dogs and the guy kept yelling at them to "put some momentum on it."

This guy does it to his dogs, his wife, his boss, his kids, to strangers. For good or for bad, I avoid people when they react like that.

As for that particular post on Huffington Post... wow... just wow. For those who want to see it:


Leigh Shulman

Thank you, Tom.

You bring up excellent issues, many of which I hadn't thought of addressing so directly because I don't have your experience in the travel industry.

I notice also you've been tweeting lately with others (including @ARoadRetraveled) about different resorts, how green they are, and other issues related to making green yet still affordable choices for travel.

I'm curious to know how you would answer the question you posit here. How can we nudge the cruise ship industry to become greener?


Here is the article I wrote on Matador - Leigh's post here reminded me of what inspires us to travel - be it cruises, hiking or whatever.


Christine Gilbert

No worries. I think there is a list somewhere... you might ask one of the other bloggers. There were maybe a dozen more folks than what you have listed. That's the problem with hashtags on twitter... there's no context.

Leigh Shulman

Thank you, Mr Conlan!

You left a comment on an earlier post of mine, the one on Walmart, saying "Wally's is here and that is that."


While cruises fall more into the luxury category then, say, buying groceries at Walmart, I think a similar principle prevails.

Leigh Shulman

Beautiful post, Robyn. I'm honored you'd cite me as inspiration.

What struck me when reading it is that somewhere in this whole debate, the important things get lost.

Part of that is the focus on environment. Another part is what makes a person a traveler. More and more, at least based on the people I meet and read, it seems environment and being a traveler go hand in hand.

At least that's for which we can strive.

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