Lost Boy of the Week: Darren Garnick (The Tacky Tourist)

Lost Boys, Websites and Blogs — By on March 2, 2010 at 6:00 am

Darren Garnick of www.tackytouristphotos.com, is a New Hampshire-based writer and filmmaker currently gearing up for the next ‘Anne of Green Gables Look-a-like Contest’ (pictured left). He recently chased thrill show daredevils around the country for his offbeat documentary, “Hell Drivers: America’s Original Crash Test Dummies.” Read about it here. Here, Darren shares his thoughts on being a tourist, and embracing it.

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Most of the globetrotting travel junkies I know say they NEVER want to

Thumbs up for tacky tourist photos!

“look  like a tourist” whenever they are on vacation. But the digital files on our cameras tell a different story.

Millions of us throw our arms around goofy mascots, stick our heads in wooden boards painted like mermaids, do trick photography to “hold” famous landmarks, and stage wacky tourist poses for posterity. We would never behave like this at home.

While I cherish the opportunity to trek off the beaten path — hiking through the jungles of Vanuatu and Costa Rica are two of my most memorable life experiences — I also love to explore so-called “tourist traps” and bask in the glory of where millions have tread before me.

Tacky Tourist Photos is my global scrapbook celebrating the snapshots of tourists who love to act like tourists. I am hoping to turn the project into a coffee table book because I believe these scenes are far more fascinating than sunsets or landscapes that never look as gorgeous on camera as they do in real life.

Chilling out on a swinging canopy bridge above the rainforest near Costa Rica's Arenal Volcano

Occasionally, I’ll dress the part of the stereotypical Tacky Tourist and slap on a a gaudy Hawaiian shirt. But most of the time, I blend in the background and take pictures of other tourists unwittingly playing the part.  I know I am not alone. Would love to hear from other travelers who love vacation kitsch!

-Darren

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