BlogRants/Thoughts

Have I Become a Beach Snob? (And the Danger of Comparisons)

“The water isn’t quite as blue as I was expecting”.

“Why is there so much seaweed”?

“There are too many rocks in the water; swimming would be hard”.

These are some of the thoughts I had recently while exploring the beaches of Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Don’t get me wrong, Little Corn is a great island and the beaches were nice, but are they as nice as the ones in the Maldives, Indonesia or the Philippines? Probably not, but comparing them, and anywhere that you happen to travel, is best avoided.

I was trying to sum up the Little Corn Island to a friend in Bluefields (that we met in Guatemala) who was considering taking the arduous journey (it took us 2 full days on a boat, but more on that another day). I don’t think I did a great job of “selling” it and he said that I might have become a beach snob, which is probably true. I blame the Maldives for that – how can anywhere compare to the amazing white sand beaches and luminous blue water of those tiny islands?

Fighting the will to compare

While I wouldn’t consider myself well travelled at all, I have been to some pretty awesome places over the last 5 years. I’ve seen amazing beaches, stunning waterfalls and exotic river villages. I’ve climbed to spectacular viewpoints and seen some of the most iconic and beautiful cities in the world. So, when you get to a waterfall that isn’t quite as stunning and cities that will never appear on a “Top 50 cities in the world list” it’s hard not to compare them and feel a little short changed. While hard to avoid, it’s definitely not the best way to go about things. I’ve found almost everywhere has its charms, and even though a beach, or a town, might not quite measure up to others it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it for what it is. The same goes for hotels, food and pretty much everything related to travel. Once I reminded myself of this on Little Corn Island I enjoyed it a lot more.

beach-little-corn-islandLittle Corn Island

How to avoid negative comparisons

One way to avoid being let down by somewhere that “isn’t as good” as a previous destination is to meticulously plan your travels to make sure you’re only going to amazing places. You could view hundreds of photos of a place to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into and read countless blog posts and articles about why people love it so much. While I guess that would work, half the fun of travel is discovering things for yourself – which obviously opens you up to the risk of that place that no one else rates being a complete waste of time. This does happen (not very often) but is far outweighed by the amazing places you’ll find that you’d never heard of before.

Another way to combat this issue would be to slowly build up to places and not jump straight to somewhere like the Maldives. Why not visit the beaches of Somalia (I’ve heard they’re lovely this time of year) first and eventually build up to the big guns, that way your comparisons will be favourable.

The best way though is to look at each place you visit with a fresh pair of eyes – our brains are actually pretty clever and will usually find something positive to see. A good example of this is a little town on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua called Bluefields (where I’m writing this post from) – I’ve heard nothing good about this town but I’ve actually kind of enjoyed my 4 nights here. It’s never going to be a highlight of anyone’s trip, but I’ve appreciated the interesting culture, great food (some say the best in Nicaragua) and the lively Palo de Mayo Festival (a bit like a poor man’s Rio Carnival – there go the comparisons again!).

palo-de-mayo-festival-bluefieldsPalo de Mayo, Bluefields

I thought this post was about beaches…

Sorry, I’ll get back on track. I think I have become a beach snob – but I’ve also learnt to appreciate the beaches I go to for what they are, not in comparison to somewhere on the other side of the world. If you also become a beach (or volcano, colonial city etc) snob you can still take comfort in knowing that at least you’re not a wine snob – that’d be the worst.

Do you compare places that you travel to? Are you a beach snob too? Let me know!

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Jon Algie

Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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10 Comments

  1. June 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm — Reply

    Beaches of Somalia Jon? Yes, I think that would make you appreciate everything else afterwards 🙂
    It’s very true what you say. We’ve been in Croatia for the last 2 months and have fallen in love with it. We’re leaving and have to plan where we want to continue – and honestly right now just not feeling that motivated because we’ve still got Croatia in our hearts. But as you say, everyplace has charms and its just a matter of moving on and appreciating every place for what it has to offer.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Jon Algie
      June 6, 2015 at 12:13 am — Reply

      Haha, I have actually heard they are quite nice but the whole getting murdered by pirates thing would put a downer on the trip. I haven’t been to Croatia yet but I’ve heard great things, must be hard to leave, although I’m sure you’ll feel the same about somewhere else in the near future.

  2. June 8, 2015 at 10:23 pm — Reply

    I too suffered a bit after visiting The Maldives, especially as we had a three week trip in Sri Lanka following it. Due to the time of year, the beaches in SL weren’t at their best and I spent a lot of it wishing I was back on the white sand!

    • Jon Algie
      June 9, 2015 at 12:49 pm — Reply

      Haha yip, the Maldives is a blessing and a curse. I also wasn’t blown away by the beaches in Sri Lanka, headed for the hills pretty quick!

  3. June 11, 2015 at 12:00 am — Reply

    Love this! Cool perspective. Little Corn Island looks amazing to me. But then, I haven’t been to the Maldives yet! 🙂

    • Jon Algie
      June 12, 2015 at 11:51 am — Reply

      Cheers, maybe leave the Maldives for last!

  4. Tarryn
    June 12, 2015 at 9:45 pm — Reply

    I really liked this article, it was insightful but equally funny! I think we are very blessed to be able to be beach snobs, not many people get these awesome opportunities… Thailand is definitely my “Maldives”, i think Thailand has some of the best beaches in the world….and South Africa of course! 🙂
    I really like your website, and enjoy reading your blog posts! Safe travels.

    • Jon Algie
      June 14, 2015 at 8:05 am — Reply

      Thanks for the kind words Tarryn! Thailand has some great beaches as well, I just wrote a post on some of them actually and was reminded how nice they are. I’ve heard great things about South African beaches, and the country in general, I’m hoping to get there sometime in the near future!

  5. June 13, 2015 at 5:23 am — Reply

    Great post – I think about this all the time! Sometimes I catch myself feeling inadvertently disappointed by something I would have been BEYOND excited by 5 year years ago. Need to work on my perspective a bit!

    • Jon Algie
      June 14, 2015 at 8:07 am — Reply

      Cheers Courtney, it’s all about perspective, but you’re right, those first few places you go always seemed a bit more exciting.

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