“I was confronted for travelling at a time when so many couldn't and had to let go of another layer of giving a f*** about what other people think of me.”
That was one of the hardships a Vancouver micro-influencer said she overcame in an Instagram post explaining why she went on a trip to Hawaii during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Leah Brathwaite, a Vancouver-based “Mindset Coach” and author posted her explanation to her 3,513 followers on her Instagram account over the weekend. The account has since been made private.
In the post, Brathwaite said she felt "called" to the Hawaiian islands. While there she had a tarot reading, went whale-watching, took part in a fire ceremony and visited a volcano.
Raise your hand if you’ve also been “called to Hawaii” sometime over the past year. 🙋🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/FjIw9YSzXx— Erin (@erin_gee) February 8, 2021
“Even with the most integrity and care, people will only be able to see your journey the way they want to because judgement is in the eye of the beholder. Foolish to some, inspiring to others,” the post reads. “It's impossible to please everyone.
“And the more we try to separate living into binary metrics of do's and don'ts, the more we isolate ourselves from the point of life. To live. To feel and follow our hearts. To be fully alive, not for anyone else's experience but our own.”
Screenshots of the post’s description were shared on Twitter where Brathwaite quickly drew ire about her trip and rationale.
I'm a travel writer and I've been called to Hawaii, oh, about once an hour for the past 10 months. I've sat on my butt in my snow-clad home in my locked-down city and I've used some of my spare time to write about Hawaiian national parks to visit post-deadly pandemic.— Vanessa Chiasson (@SculptSocial) February 9, 2021
"Follow your heart" and "do whatever the f*ck you want with blatant disregard for the safety and circumstances of others" are not quite the same. F*ck, I'm so tired— Phelan Snow (@PhelanSnow) February 9, 2021
I’m embarrassed to find out she’s from Vancouver. I had my flight booked for my first time ever to Hawaii in April 2020 but of course I cancelled! Anything else would be selfish and entitled regardless of how you try to spin it. 🤬 pic.twitter.com/TM5Lecz7y7— Luisa “Wear A Mask” D. 🇨🇦🇬🇧🇮🇹 (@luisaloveslife) February 9, 2021
I had a trip to Hawai'i booked and paid for, a family reunion where my kids could meet up with their cousin who lives in NZ. All cancelled, and now seeing people like this is enraging. It's not impossible to please people, just stay home in a damn pandemic!— Lija Bickis (@LBickis) February 9, 2021
Hey, #vancouver - do you do business with Leah Brathwaite, Lifestyle Coach? If you do, you might want to rethink that since she thinks the current travel restrictions don't apply to her: pic.twitter.com/0igQ8CYCXs— Ann Tifa (@Kimli) February 9, 2021
Screenshots of the post’s comment section were also shared and while most were in support of Brathwaite’s travel decision one user was less accepting.
“This is so tone-deaf, selfish and lacking in empathy,” wrote Amelia Wild. “Just say that you wanted you to go on a vacation to spite the current pandemic and don't shroud it in the language of quote ‘wellness’ to avoid personal agency in your decision-making. Going on a vacation does not require courage.”
In the post Brathwaite referenced spending $500 in negative tests, 13-hour masked travel days, and mandatory quarantine periods upon her healthy return home.
V.I.A. reached out to Brathwaite for further comment but did not receive a reply.