We’ve all heard it a million times over – Instagram has changed the world of travel and monumentally impacted the average millennial by exposing him/her to places they would have never discovered otherwise. The trends, the hashtags, go to this hidden gem while it’s still “undiscovered”.
While Instagram is a great source for research, discovery, and inspiration, we are quick to forget the negative impact this phenomenon has had on the average millennial. At its simplest, people began to aspire to make their Instagram feeds a reality, in ways that are more detrimental than beneficial, in my opinion. It’s a similar concept to what the modeling industry has done – created a perfectly doctored image that doesn’t actually exist in reality. For example, a person sees an absolute perfect image of a place and aspires to travel there so that they can take that selfie, post it to Instagram, and put a check on their overly-inflated list of travel achievements.
So how is this bad, you may ask? The intention itself is not – I am not going to lie and say I have not been impacted by this movement on Instagram, because I obviously have. The bad part is that many people end up going to places and leaving without really experiencing the destination they spent so much time and money on. Many of these worldly travelers never go beyond one YouTube video, if that, to learn about the place they are traveling so far to get to. Still don’t see how this is a bad thing? Let me ask you this – would you drive a car without first learning road rules? Would you fly an airplane without ever having been in cockpit? Or perhaps go to a foreign country you know absolutely nothing about? What you are effectively doing is robbing yourself of an authentic experience you deserve to have.
We’ve all run into those people who are there just to take that picture and post that selfie. But travel is all about self-discovery, you’ll learn things along the way. I completely agree – you do learn things along the way, but how can you possibly learn about the real essence of the place you’re at without asking any questions, tasting, seeing, smelling, and experiencing? Are you really experiencing your destination if you spend 80% of your time on your phone? Are you living in that moment while you’re recording it on video?
What’s trending today? Look at that jungle half way across the world – sounds like a good place to go even though I don’t like spicy food, don’t swim or hike, and don’t know a word in the local language, and by the way, don’t care to adjust for any of these things. Should find the nearest pizza joint close to the hotel while I’m at it. As long as I’m comfortable.
Do you know anyone who has achieved anything by being comfortable? Are any places worth going to easy to get to?
Then how can you possibly expect to have an experience of self-discovery and cultural growth without ever leaving your comfort zone?
Travel with a purpose – forget what’s trending on Instagram. Where do YOU want to go? Why? Was it your childhood dream? Is it the native country of your ancestors? What is fascinating about it to you that makes it more than just picture worthy? Make a bucket list that’s meaningful and I promise you, you will get the full experience of adventure and self-discovery. Travel with a purpose and you will become a more well-rounded, informed human being – even if you don’t read about or research every destination you’re going to. Approach your trips with awareness and an open mind – don’t look for the nearest pizza joint, have the spicy soup you think you won’t like, because guess what, you just might.