Why do we travel? + The sad problem with this generation of travel influencers
Traveling is an eye-opening experience that lets you come back as a renewed & refreshed person.
It’s also more than the pretty pictures, the cool hotels, & the nice places. Of course we love a room with a nice view but since when did this become the epitome & center of traveling? Travel is so much more than the materialistic things, way more than the aesthetics, or a good time. If you plan a getaway right, you will carry the impact of that getaway all the way back home with you. That’s the difference between going on vacation vs embarking on a journey. You know you are seeking a journey experience if one of your main goals for the getaway is to come back home with a new perspective of the world, if you wish to travel to fully immerse in a new location with all your senses, if you seek to be in the present moment and learn more about life in that location, learn about its culture, its people... what their vibe is like. How they see the world and why? Those sort of things.
Making connections to others and learning from first hand experience is so much more valuable than learning based on being told by someone else. Traveling should push you a bit out of your comfort zone because most, if not all, of what you see, smell & taste will be unfamiliar. I recently stumbled across a YouTuber who lives by the phrase “seek discomfort”; I feel like a large part of traveling really IS that, or at least it was at some point. It’s about venturing to the unknown, for the purpose of learning what a new geographical location is like. Nowadays I feel like travel has been more focused on seeking comfort. I don’t understand the obsession with booking the most beautiful 5 star hotel. I’m not going to bash on anyone and say that staying at a nice hotel is wrong or bad, because it’s not, but I do believe it’s a problem when that is someone’s main concern when they’re traveling. I see too many ‘travel’ influencers posting pictures of their hotel rooms, I don’t want to see hotels all the time, as unique and astonishing as hotels can get, there’s a side of travel that is almost non-existent on Instagram & almost all of social media. It’s like what did you learn about the country other than your hotel room being amazing?
In a sense, it makes travel really materialistic. People tend to think, “where can I go to take an amazing pic? Where can I stay?” At the end of the day, are you traveling for you or are you traveling to impress people on social media? Is it really more about the pictures than it is the moments? Where do we draw the line where we can document our experiences but not make the whole experience about documenting it?
The moments when you are fully present, enjoying being somewhere new & totally different than what you are used to or where you were before, those moments are priceless. I see art such as photography, used as a bragging statement on social media platforms. It’s no longer about capturing the essence of a person, location or moment it’s about “look at me, I’m here, are you?” I want to state there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to take pictures of yourself while on your travels, as a matter of fact, who doesn’t?? It’s amazing to have the opportunity to capture the moments in your life when you are most happiest. To me it’s a problem when you make yourself the center of attention in ALL your “travel” pictures. Like what are you really showing people? What are you trying to convey? Do your travel pictures really give your audience a sense of what the place you are visiting is like or do they just learn the angle you look best in? Give me something exciting, give me something new; let people know what’s so amazing about the place you just visited and why they should explore it too, provide substance. Show me someone who isn’t trying to filter out all their pictures to make the this planet look perfect, show me someone unique who isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd and show people a new perspective on travel.
I definitely believe that we all have something distinctive to offer on our platforms, yet everybody wants to blend in and look the same. They want to edit their pictures the same way, write their Instagram bio in the same format, shoot their photos using the same angles… you get the idea. It’s like different person, same content. I know we can all do better. If you let your creativity lead and create things that you like, without the influence of others, the right people will follow you for your unique style of expression & authenticity.
I also want to point out a blunt, disappointing & yet obvious truth: nobody is showing the stuff that matters.
In a way, every travel Instagrammer is lying to us. They are showing us the pretty pictures of earth and nice places to travel to- highly focused on the aesthetics & forgetting the importance of showing people that most of those beautiful places, that they are trivially visiting, are in danger of disappearing because of the environmental crisis we are facing. It’s like it’s great that they’re getting to enjoy beautiful locations and all, but at what degree can we say we “love traveling the world”, without even giving a damn about protecting it or preserving it for future generations to have a chance to enjoy it too?
A true travel influencer will not be afraid to show you that it’s really not all rainbows and sunshine they see. There are a lot of places that travel influencers turn a blind eye to, simply because they want their Instagram to look so nice that they fail to display the reality of the locations they are traveling to. How did we get this bad that most people don’t even think this is something worth talking about?
We have a vision; & it doesn’t involve a generation of “travel influencers” & “travel bloggers” wandering around the planet mindlessly. We want people wandering the planet, enjoying what earth has to offer, and realizing, first hand, that all animals, people, and land on earth are worth conserving and saving. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. I’m not saying that showing beautiful pictures of places is wrong, I’m saying that is not ALL a person who really loves and enjoys earth & traveling will show you.
There is nothing wrong with writing about and recommending a location or attraction etc. but at the end of the day you want people who will travel and respect the places they are traveling to; you want them to not liter, you want them to be aware, and ultimately you want them to care for the places they are visiting.
Your reasons for traveling somewhere, is what affects the total outcome of how you end up experiencing that location. When you take the time to reflect on your priority reasons, you bring yourself closer to the experience you are seeking.
Going back to our outlook on travel, to us, traveling is about the knowledge you gain. It’s everything you’re interested in learning more about, right in front of you. It’s sharing that awareness & knowledge with others. Traveling fulfills your curiosity by allowing you to make connections that will lead you to a deeper understanding of our world. Yes you get to enjoy yourself & take beautiful pictures, but it’s important to not lose focus of the main reason you are there: the spark of curiosity that lead you to your journey.
As always, don't be afraid to share your thoughts down below & thanks for reading! 🙂