Should Secret Spots Stay Secret?
As you may have previously read, Elise and I were recently invited on a day trip up the California coast in search of the crashed freighter, the S.S. Dominator. On that trip I was confronted by a older gentleman, himself wielding a camera, who just wanted to start up a conversation. The chat started off pleasant and innocuous enough, but quickly turned sour. In a sudden change in tone of his voice he advised me to keep this to myself. “Take all the photos you want, I just hope they’re going to stay on your computer. You shouldn’t be posting about this place.” I was taken aback. “Why?” I asked. “Next thing you know, we have tens of thousands of people all trying to get in all at once.” he snapped back.
My blood began to boil. I nodded and walked away, but for the rest of the day I couldn’t let it go. Who does he think he is? You don’t own this beach. This is a public beach. We found it on google maps, it’s got reviews on yelp, and most importantly it’s a California Historical Site. On top of that, to ask me not to share my photos seems incredibly rude if nothing else. I've always been a believer of sharing your art no matter how good or bad it is, share it all with the world. It isn’t just this one guy who was getting to me. I’ve been on both sides of this a lot. I’ve both been asked to never tell anyone of a place I’ve found, as well as attempted to find places that I was told “Sorry, I can’t help you. If you find it then good for you, but I can’t help you, It’s a secret spot.” (Luckily for me these people don’t know how to clear their photos exif data).
But maybe I’m in the wrong here. After all people seem to be notorious ruiners of things. One person falls and gets hurt and next thing you know they’re suing the city. That lawsuit may lead to a restructuring or even closure of the beach. Now no one can enjoy it. Get enough traffic and soon the beach is covered in trash and dim-witted people think it would be fun to destroy what makes a spot so beautiful, and carve their name into the rocks, and spray on any surface where the paint will stick. Now a once beautiful place is just a landfill or a drug den.
I guess the question comes down to “Is it fair to restrict people from enjoying somewhere you enjoy, to protect that place?” I’m not exactly sure where I fall on that spectrum, but I feel uncomfortable not sharing a magical experience with others who are looking for similar experiences. I mean, we started a travel blog for a reason, and you’re reading it and maybe even starting your own travel blog for the same reason. Maybe this comes from my aversion to elitist, or maybe I’m just upset because I’ve been on the other end, but I believe this life we are given should be enjoyed by all, not just by one.
So I’ll leave it up to you guys. What do you think about secret spots? Should you keep them secret to protect them from being ruined, or is it selfish to keep people from enjoying the places you love?