Journiest

Cancel Your Trip to Hawaii and Watch "White Lotus" Instead

A lesson in being less of an asshole

White Lotus

White Lotus is a lot of things: a comedy, a thriller, a showcase of career making performances, and, above all, a lesson in being less of an asshole.

If you haven't watched White Lotus yet, start it immediately.

The new HBO Max limited series delivers exactly what you want and need from an HBO thriller: a stellar cast, a convoluted web of lives, and the gripping, but aesthetically pleasing, downfall of the elite. It moves through the lives of different characters at a Hotel Resort in Hawaii, The White Lotus, from hotel staff to various guests.

White Lotus is billed as a satirical comedy with the undercurrent of a thriller. Directed by Mike White, it is as impressive as it is entertaining. According to Variety, it's "a fascinating trick of light that bends its interlocking stories with the kind of impressive dexterity we've come to expect from White. By the time you get used to this show's rhythms, it's already shifted into something else entirely."

But what really makes the show is the cast. Each distinct character comes through in compelling, embodied performances by the cast — Sydney Sweeny and Brittany O'Grady as the pretentious teenagers based on the hosts of the " Red Scare" podcast, whose haughtiness is balanced by both tenderness and turmoil; Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy as the newlywed rich couple, whose dynamic is so precisely delivered that I've started rating real life couples I see in the city based on how similar they act to the White Lotus couple; the inimitable Jennifer Coolidge as … a complete mess; the smug and self sabotaging hotel manager; as well as everyone in between.

But the show isn't just a vicarious deep dive into the lives of the wastefully rich; it's a satirical exploration of the more pathetic moments of the privileged, an intimate look into the flaws and foils of different archetypes of People With Money.

Though it's not prescriptive, there is no Answer or moralizing force, one thing is pretty clear: Stop being an asshole.

Some of the most cringeworthy moments aren't in the unimaginable — not the egregious missteps the characters make as the stakes escalate — they're the subtle but pointed glimpses of the daily lives of the guests, all their nonchalant arrogance and easy entitlement.

There are some big, obvious displays of nauseating privilege — a tantrum over a bedroom, the $75,000 bracelets — but more insidious are the small moments. More than once, the directorial gaze lingers on the guests obnoxiously eating at the breakfast bar, touching everything and leaving it out of place, or treating staff like idiots and props, trusting that they will be catered to despite.

The larger plot lines exaggerate these dynamics, but even in their daily habits, their casual conversations, the characters are, well assholes.

In a post-Covid world, this has larger implications. The show barely mentions the pandemic, but small one-liners glance at the privilege the rich have to feel as though the pandemic is "over," to abscond from the "stress" of the pandemic and splurge on a Hawaiian vacation.

What the series does explore, through brief anecdotes and subplots, is the colonization of Hawaii. According to the show's lore, the White Lotus Resort was built on an island sacred to native Hawaiians which the government illegally sold to resort builders. Yet, the resort uses elements of Hawaiian traditions to enhance the "authenticity" of their experience.

This tension shows up as a plot point in the series but is a real, current point of contention. In a case of life imitating art, the colonial undertones of the show are indicative of the current, real-life tensions in Hawaii right now.

Native Hawaiians have been speaking out about the colonial consequences of high tourism for decades. However, the personal impacts have been heightened over the past few months.

As travel restrictions have eased domestically in the US, many people immediately booked trips to Hawaii. However, local communities have been negatively impacted by the influx of tourists and are asking people to just … stop coming.

According to Insider in an interview, an interviewee on the island said it was "'maddening' how many people were there — with most disregarding Hawaii's public safety restrictions."

And this has largely affected the Native populations. A study from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa showed that "Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders account for 40% of the positive coronavirus cases on the islands, but they only make up 25% of Hawaii's population."

Meanwhile tourists get to come and go, ignoring the lives of Natives beyond what they can benefit from. White Lotus is a perfect display of this. Despite the chaos the characters cause, their lives are rarely impacted by the messes they make.So if you're considering a trip to Hawaii, cancel it. Just sit at home, watch White Lotus, and then, honestly, watch it again until it sticks.

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I'm so lucky that my job allows me to do the thing I love most–travel. I work in London, which I really adore, and my company has a few offices scattered around the United Kingdom, so I get to escape the city a couple of times a month.

I've been crazy busy lately, so I haven't had as much time to travel internationally for a holiday. Plus, being a brand new city-dweller meant that my budget hasn't really allowed for it.

A couple of months ago, my boss asked me to price train tickets for an upcoming meeting. Desperate not to add to the never-ending amount of tabs open on my desktop, I researched some sites that would show me all of my options at once.

After browsing for a couple of minutes, I came across Omio. It's an online portal that shows you all of the best deals, as well as alternative travel methods.

I'm that person who spends hours, sometimes spread over days, checking every single travel provider's site, ogling for the best deal. While I was instantly impressed by how easy Omio's site was to navigate, I was wary that as a third party booking service, they wouldn't show all of my options. Or they'd charge an exorbitant booking fee.

But after using filters to help determine my cheapest option, it showed me suggestions for alternative travel methods; I ended up booking a faster train. And the best part? It took me only a few minutes, and I ended up getting the tickets for less with a different train provider than the one I had been looking at previously.

Omio has become my go-to for booking any travel—I even found a bus ticket for as little as one pound once. Talk about a steal!

When it came time to book a summer holiday with friends, we couldn't decide on just one place, so we agreed to spend 10 days across five different European cities. Usually, I'd stress myself out booking a trip like this. But Omio made it quick and simple.

Our plan was to fly to Paris and take trains and buses to the other cities so that we could see more sights that are off the beaten path. There's something to be said for escaping city capitals and taking in what the rest of the country has to offer.

Finding the fastest buses and train lines with the most scenic routes were so simple. Plus, all prices are linked with the travel provider, so you know you're getting the lowest price available because you're able to compare many different rates.

My friends and I had the trip of a lifetime. On our way to Zurich, we took a train through the breathtaking Swiss countryside. It looked like something out of a movie. From there, we hopped on a bus to Milan and worked our way down the Italian countryside. Omio's convenient app kept all our travel information in one place, and if a train or bus was delayed, it immediately let us know.

Planning a trip can be time-consuming and annoying, but Omio makes the whole thing a breeze. No more worries about outrageous booking fees or searching a zillion different sites. All of your options are in one place. I'm already planning my next trip. Now, all I need is a bottomless bank account and an infinite amount of time off!

UPDATE: The folks at Omio are extending a special offer to our readers: Follow this link to book your next trip with Omio.

Lately, I've been feeling nostalgic about family vacations we took when I was a kid. While reminiscing about meeting Mickey Mouse at Disneyworld (my childhood dream come true), I decided it was time for another trip.

Now that I'm a bit older, it was time to expand my horizons to a whole other continent—Europe! And not just one city or even one country. I wanted to see as many places as I could within my limited time-off and tight budget.

Once the decision was made, I was excited, but I had no idea where to start. Planning a trip to the grocery store is daunting, so navigating my way through several countries in a few weeks seemed almost impossible. Not to mention, my only knowledge of Europe came from travel photos I had seen while enviously scrolling through my ex-friend's Instagrams.

I started with my favorite part: researching and determining which cities to visit. Once I'd chosen them, my first instinct was to check available flights. But it didn't take me long to figure out that traveling everywhere by plane would be massively expensive.

Then, I remembered a company that kept cropping up on travel guides: Omio. I thought it was probably just another site that claimed to flog the most affordable flights while actually charging more than the providers.

But when I checked their site, I discovered Omio not only helps you book cheap flights, it shows alternative travel options, like trains and buses. When I entered my departure date from each city, Omio clearly displayed every possible route of travel and the prices.

The site has filters so that I could quickly identify the fastest and cheapest routes. Omio's low prices are even cheaper than what I'd seen on travel guides and I liked the transparency.

Traveling by the quickest course meant I could maximize my time in some cities. If I chose to travel cheaply to other cities, it gave me a bigger budget for museum fares, guided tours, and swanky restaurants.

Omio accommodated my personal travel needs and priorities perfectly, and the whole process was super simple. I was thrilled to see that if I took the train from Brussels to Paris I could fit Amsterdam into my itinerary, too!

Thankfully, I downloaded all my train, bus, and flight tickets to the Omio mobile app. You have no idea how comforting this was, knowing I had easy access to all my tickets in one place. Because I could view my travel dates and times so easily, I made a detailed schedule for my entire trip. And when the day finally came for me to jet off, I was prepared and so excited.

Throughout Europe, I received regular updates. Rather than constantly checking each provider individually for information or possible delays, Omio alerted me. Plus, there was added comfort knowing that if I had a problem with any of the providers, Omio would help me get a refund.

Traveling to another continent is potentially scary, but Omio's informative and accessible service eased my nerves. I never imagined that planning such an extensive trip could be so simple. Thanks to Omio, my vacation was unforgettable.

I recently found out Omio is doing a $10 referral program, so I'm telling all my friends how painless traveling with Omio can be. I recommend it to anyone who is planning on traveling, whether it's to one destination or many. You can thank me later.

UPDATE: The folks at Omio are extending a special offer to our readers: Follow this link to book your next trip with Omio.