Before I moved out of my first house on the edge of my small hometown I tried carving my initials inside my closet. My younger self wanted to leave my mark on the place where I grew up in so that the next kid who would call my room their own would know a little about the girl who lived there previously. I suppose I didn’t do it deep enough because, when I went back to grab the last of my things in my room and to check and see if was still there, the painters had painted over it and there were no signs of my signature.
I did, however, made a very crude sketch of that house in pencil before leaving and hung it up on my wall in our new home. I ended up taking a piece of that place with me rather than defacing it for the next person, and, through the image that I had created, I could look at my old house any day if I wanted to.
I learned this lesson at a young age, but I didn’t realize that there are some people who never seem to figure out how to capture memories. I read, recently, of two California tourists aged 21 and 25, who thought it would be cool to carve their names into the ancient Italian walls of Rome’s Colosseum, and got caught while taking a selfie with their damaging graffiti.
Looking back on my own brush with name carving, I could see how one would want to do this, however, I could never imagine me altering a piece of living ancient history at any age.
“There’s a difference in perception. Museums are treated like churches, sacred places where there are things of great value. Whereas the Colosseum is an incomplete building which has already been robbed,” spokesman for the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome said in relation to the incident.
And this isn’t the first time someone tried to carve his or her name into the Colosseum. A 42-year-old Russian tourist was caught and fined along with four other individuals from Brazil, Australia, and Canada in the past doing the same thing.
These people wanted to destroy something before another generation of adventurers and students had a chance to see it. Instead of taking photos, drawing pictures, blogging about your exciting experiences, or making a great lasting impression on the people you encounter in a new place, they chose to help demolish a historic architectural feat.
I advise, when people do travel to new and beautiful places, that they take a piece of the place with them in whichever way is not damaging and is allowed. You have to remember that you are not the last, or the only one in the universe who like to see this place, and that you have an obligation as a fellow explorer to preserve these wonders for the next person.