For some it's the serenity of the mountains
For some it's the gushing flow of the rivers
For some it's the silence that drowns the crowd
And for some it's their moment with crowd
Don't travel for travel's sake
Travel because there's no greater love than the love for wandering.
The beauty of travelling is the lessons we learn on our journeys. Some travels are hard-hitting, life altering while some are an out and out party! Amidst this sea of travellers, there is a chunk that travels for the love of social media. It doesn't matter if you are at the highest lake in the world or the best five star in the country - as long as you can tweet about it, post a picture and instagram your ultra cool vacation, it's the perfect vacation.
You could call yourself a photographer, a blogger or a web travel guide but if every moment of your trip is spent in the midst of posing for selfies, clicking the perfect cover picture or finding the best lines for a tweet - I'd take the liberty of saying that you just ruined a perfectly awesome experience.
For the love of travelling or for the love of Social Networking?
Yes, trips are planned and clothes are bought for the sole purpose of making it big on social channels.
I once heard an acquaintance exclaim after her return from London: "1400 likes, damnit, what am I doing wrong?". (Yes, it happened)
If you are one of those who refuse to believe that this happens, you are not alone. For a long time I thought this is an exaggerated picture of what really happens. I just couldn't get myself to believe that one would travel MOSTLY to spend time on their phone/tabs and visit new places to get the perfect picture. The thought was preposterous and honestly quite saddening. If the purpose of your travel is to get away from the chaos of every day life; why spend your vacation evening uploading pictures?
Who wouldn't want to capture a stunning sunset, the majestic walk of a tiger and the vastness of the sea - but is it really that important to upload the picture right then?
Who are you really travelling with?
You haven't had one decent conversation with your fellow travellers but have tagged them in over 15 pictures since you left home. You don't remember the taste of your fantastic meal but have pictures of each dish for your fancy food album? If one is to ask your favourite experience from a trip, perhaps you can show them a bunch of posts and likes.
A picture posted is an experience lost. For the love of travelling, live in the moment, take in the colours, listen to your fellow travellers, accept and explore the culture of a new place, taste new cuisines, make memories and remember them to cherish them. Trust me, the most memorable moments of any trip can't be captured.
To click or not to click?
Stats suggest that selfies have caused more deaths than shark attacks this year. As saddening as this is, it is also an opportunity to reflect upon the real reasons we travel. The instinct to get away from a certain place in search of something has been dominant since time immemorial. If Columbus had never set out on his voyage, we'd have very little in the name of adventure. So if it's adventure you are looking for, you certainly will not find it on your phone.
Travelling with your virtual world is also a huge challenge for the ones who travel with you. It's exhausting and quite annoying to travel with someone who is stuck to his phone throughout the trip and the only conversations that interest him revolve around his selfie count, the number of likes, shares and comments on the latest post.
I believe travel is an expression of freedom for most of us. Travelling with social baggage not only diminishes any hope for an unforgettable trip but also reduces your vacation to a never ending loop - Click -> choose -> edit -> filter -> redit -> post -> fret over likes, comments -> reply to comments ->click.
Is this how you want to spend your vacation?
This trigger for potential contemplation also holds true for frequent travellers who travel because it's part of their job and those who travel to party. If travelling is how you earn your bread and butter, it becomes slightly more important for you to distance yourself from the virtual world. To sell a place to an audience or to showcase your work, it's perhaps important to first experience it yourself.
Travelling is freedom from anything that binds you. Only if you let it be.
Now most of us unintentionally carry our whole social world with us, here are a few instances that made me realise that I need to give my 'social presence' an absence.
1. If the only way your friend can spend time with you is by helping you choose the correct filter or by posing for a selfie
2. If your phone comes out the moment someones says "Oh look at that!"
3. If you pick up the phone to click and not the spoon to eat
4. When going through a vacation album, you can't remember the vibe of the place you visited or the taste of the food you gobbled
5. If your phone is discharged, it's time to return to the hotel
6. If your trip begins with a selfie, continues with selfies and ends with a selfie
7. You remember places by the number of likes the picture received
8. Someone has checked you more than 5 times about being stuck to your phone
9. You have updated your travel planes on social media two weeks in advance (with regular updates)
10. You don't remember the last time you DIDN'T upload a picture immediately
If you have nodded your head at more than 3 points in the above list, I suggest abandon your phone, pack your bags and run for your first real holiday!