Stop Drawing So Much Attention To Charleston—It Can't Handle It

Stop Drawing So Much Attention To Charleston—It Can't Handle It

How many tourists can the city take without losing that special charm that has made it such a unique destination?

For the fifth year in a row, readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have named Charleston, SC the number one city in the nation, as well as number 2 in the world.

Readers were asked to rate cities based on sights/landmarks, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people/friendliness, shopping and value. Now, you’d expect the locals, college students and business owners to rejoice at the recognition that their beloved city is receiving, right? WRONG. We actually HATE all of the attention, the same way we hate the sight of the big, ugly cruise ships sitting in the harbor. I guarantee that many people were filled with a sense of dread when they scrolled down to that headline, myself included. This is because for years there has been one question on everyone’s mind: how many tourists can the city handle without losing that special charm that has made it such a unique destination?

First of all, with all the hype surrounding the city, living costs inevitably rise. It becomes more and more difficult to find a house or apartment that is even close to being reasonably affordable and close to where you need to go. People are left with no choice but to either leave this beautiful city full of culture behind or to move to one of the surrounding communities, which makes rent prices there more competitive as well. After the arduous commute in rush hour traffic on roads that aren’t built for it, there are still the issues with parking. With all the outsiders coming in, on-street parking in the most urban areas is almost impossible to come by, and the parking garages aren’t that much better of an option for many people. As college students, when we tell someone that we live in Charleston, we are often told how lucky we are to spend most of the year in such an amazing city. However, what they don’t realize is that life here is not cheap, which makes it difficult for us.

Not only has it become expensive to rent housing in the city, it has also become more and more difficult for small businesses to keep their doors open due to rising leases. So many of the little shops and eateries that gave Charleston its charm have been taken over by larger department stores and hipster-style restaurants that are marketed for tourists. Though we may love having a Starbucks every couple of blocks, this only adds to the influx of tourists to the area. Without the unique experience that small businesses owned by friendly people provide, going out on the town in Charleston has started to feel like going to any indoor mall in any other city. The Preservation Society does what it can to keep the old-fashioned facades intact; however, on more than one occasion, they have lost out to the large corporations such as Apple who want to provide their customers with the same shopping experience in every one of their locations across the world. Those who remember the streets the way they used to be often long for the old days when the name shown in faded tile on the sidewalk in front of the stores matched the name on the front of building.

As college students, we get a unique perspective. The many of us that only live in Charleston for the duration of the fall and spring semesters get to see the city both as a local and as a tourist. We may gravitate towards the tourist-y things that the city has to offer, such as the farmer’s market and King Street shopping, but we also feel the pain of the locals when we see new hotels popping up in the skyline and have to deal with the confused drivers who don’t know how to handle all the one-way streets and other quirks that the city has to offer. The part of me that thinks of Charleston as my home away from home love the city and doesn’t want to see it change, and I know that there are many others who feel this way. USA Today perfectly summed up what we all want to say to everyone who tells us how lucky we are to be living our daily lives in such a beautiful destination in one sentence: “We’re flattered, but please stop.”

Cover Image Credit: Performance Impressions

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.

I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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