Disclaimer: This post is not about how social media is detrimental and is the death of all things good about society. It’s a post to remind you not to prioritise your virtual world over the real one.
On my recent trip to South India, I tried to capture and post (to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook) every picture-perfect moment whenever I could. From hills and roads, to people and food, and anything that moved, I captured it all not to create a permanent memory to preserve this moment in time, but to post online.
About half way through my trip, I lost my phone.
After the initial panic attack and ordeal of losing all my pictures, it wouldn't be incorrect to say that I suddenly felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. The weight of constantly clicking, posting and hashtaging. I was no longer taking pictures for other people and I was enjoying more of moments for myself.
The constant need to click was like a very literal barrier that had my nose pressed against a screen and it stopped me from experiencing the real beauty firsthand.
Even though we have almost everything we need to get by, millions of travel apps and travel guides in almost every language, travel isn't what it used to be. There’s still no replacement for seeing the world firsthand. Google maps is handy and surely very easy, but easy isn’t fun. And if that’s how you travel, then I’m afraid you’re going to miss out on a lot.
Because I could no longer use Google maps, I started interacting more with the people. One such group was a bunch of boys from NDA (National Defence Academy). We were all of the same age, yet they seemed vastly more mature than me. They were fun and knew how to let loose, but also carried a look of wisdom and experience. Personally, it was impossible for me to understand in full capacity their undying love for the country but that was the only time I realised that we travel not only to tell people about our experience but also to see how life is different outside of our own bubble, and to try and evolve our perspective of the world.
So travel. Travel to have fun and eat great food and take incredible pictures. But also travel to explore and learn and understand life from a new perspective. Travel to meet people who are different from you because you will still connect with them. Travel to learn about different cultures, history and backgrounds. Be uncomfortable and lonely because in the midst of the fear and unease, you will discover something far more beautiful than any picture on Instagram or Facebook.