No doubt you are looking to see who and what this site is about.
Here we are. Looking pretty normal, happy and non-Goth like.
Who are We?
We are an Anglo-American family of 4 living in London. My husband Peter and I have always loved history. Luckily, our kids (boy/girl twins currently aged 12) seem to like it, too.
At first they thought history was tedious. At least the way it is taught in school, many teachers focus on really dull facts and dates. I think the turning point came when one of their history teachers took them up on Primrose Hill and they re-enacted the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
My kids finally understood that the best part about history is about the stories of the people who made the history.
What’s It About?
We are history geeks who love to travel with our kids. Of course, a lot of history isn’t pretty. Along with the beautiful castles and inspiring monuments, the story of the human past is littered with dark stories of suffering.
There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.
Harry S. Truman
We believe historical travel should be an examination of all aspects of that particular time period. Of course, the victors always shape the story you are told.
History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
What is Dark Tourism?
The term has been thrown about in the media but what exactly is the definition of dark tourism.
It means visiting places that have an association with sadness, pain, death and destruction.
The term ‘dark tourism’ was coined by Professor John Lennon, a professor of tourism, at Glasgow Caledonian University in 1996.
So-called dark tourism can include everything from the Colosseum in Rome to Auschwitz in Poland. The New World has its share of dark tourism too – such as, for example, Alcatraz in San Francisco or the slave plantations of the Deep South.
Newspaper articles like to ask why dark tourism is booming nowadays. The actual partaking in dark tourism, irrespective of when the term was invented, is nothing new. Remember the gladiator contests in Ancient Rome or the public executions during the French Revolution. These were major events that drew huge crowds.
I personally don’t understand why people want to witness grief and suffering. Seriously I’ve got enough small-scale issues in my own life that I don’t need to vicariously watch it in someone else’s. We prefer to think of visiting these places is a way to learn about the past.
Why Dark Tourism with Kids?
As my Indian mother used to say, life isn’t all ha ha hee hee. I know that my kids live a privileged life sheltered from a lot of harsh realities. Just because they grow up in a bubble doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have some hard truths brought home to them.
We didn’t actually seek out these darker places to visit. We just found ourselves visiting museums, prisons etc as part of our general travels.
I wanted to write about some of these darker aspects which don’t really fit into the more general narrative of my other travel blog – Just Go Places.
What’s This About Needing Therapy?
The title is just some irreverent humour.
As an ex-New Yorker, I am of the opinion that everyone ends up in therapy (or should) at some point in their life. The running joke in therapy is that you talk about your parents. I figure if my kids are going to discuss their upbringing with a therapist, I might as well provide them with some good stories to analyse.
We do think carefully about the places we take our kids to make sure it is age appropriate. For example, we visited the D-Day beaches in Normandy when they were learning about World War II.
Join us on our travels as we explore the darker side of history.