For most people getting away on vacation is a great way to let go of stress and see the world. Sadly, for others it is a way to get more selfies and exposure on social media, especially Instagram.
I love to take pictures and I also share them on social media from time to time but when I went on vacation recently with a friend, she spent the entire time taking photos. Not just one photo either, but 20 or 30 shots of the same thing just to get the image Instagram-perfect.
It started to feel like a photo-shoot rather than a holiday and it even got to the point where she was choosing our itinerary based on what pictures she could get to share online!
Connect with your fellow travelers, not with the WWW
This trip was an adventure and a time to connect as friends but quite honestly there was never a moment when Instagram was not front and center. Not only were we visiting places just so she could get photos, but she was also spending a lot of time coordinating her outfits so she always looked her best in the shots.
I understand that we all want to look good and we can feel that we are in competition with all those supermodels out there but there seemed to be no spontaneity at all. There were no images of genuinely happy smiles, everything was staged. In other words, it was all a bit fake.
At first I was happy to take the pictures but after a while I stopped enjoying it and although I still love my friend I really started to hate the trip she had created for the two of us.
All I wanted was a vacation to remember, and to remember all the views because I had seen them – not through the lens of a camera or a phone, but with my own eyes! I wanted to feel good about our adventures, but it turned out that the only ‘feel good factor’ came from the number of likes we received from a photo posted online.
We had planned an all-day boat trip for the last day of the vacation and before we left I suggested that we leave our cameras (and phones) behind. She was aghast, it was almost as if I had told her someone had died.
It made me laugh because I didn’t think it was too much to ask to spend this beautiful day in an amazing place and to give it 100% of our time and attention. She was reluctant but finally, she agreed and, I have to say, it was the very best day we had on the whole trip and we didn’t take one photo.
We were focused on exploring and enjoying ourselves, we no longer had to worry about taking the perfect shot to share with other people and the whole experience was awesome!
Instead of taking pictures we found ourselves listening to music and in a way, this has proved an even better way of remembering the trip than photographs. When I hear those tracks now they take me right back to that very special day.
I don’t think my friend will ever give up taking pictures for Instagram but maybe she did learn that you don’t have to be constantly behind a camera and that sometimes being in the moment is actually the best place to be.