The Hashtag Traveller - what really motivates our travel?
Why are we really travelling?
And so begins another year, and thus, more new years resolutions splayed across my Facebook news feed from acquaintances that will never keep them. I couldn't help but think to myself the sincere in-genuine nature that social media portrays... what a paradox.
This year I plan to leave my full time job to travel full time, an idea I've toyed with for some time now but haven't yet had the actual guts to follow through with. However, seeing the constant updates from 'nomadic' friends, acquaintances and insta-famous travelers doing the same, it seems to be that easy, so, why not?
On the surface my reasons feel legitimate, no 9-5 grind, no one to answer to, infinite possibilities of discovery and fulfilling that seemingly never-ending bucket list, but when I delve deeper, there's a nagging in the back of mind telling me I'm lying to myself...
As much as I'd like to believe my reasons for infinite travel are 100% pure, why is it one of the first thoughts that come to mind is 'imagine all the Instagram photos I can take!'...
Why do we feel the necessity to broadcast our intentions to the world and keep a detailed social media documentation of every single move? Telling ourselves it's for our own future reference isn't fooling anyone.
I'm sure I'm not the only introspective person to have this realisation. Although I'm not someone who's travel motivation has superficiality at it's essence, still, it's there.
The necessity to keep up appearances, portray an ulterior universe of 'living the dream', evoke 'wanderlust' and collect 'Likes' from the people around us - this isn't in the slightest bit fulfilling, so why do we do it?
Rarely do we find ourselves enjoying a sunset, or visiting a breathtaking monument without grabbing a quick selfie to eternalise the moment on social media for all of history.
But somehow, this gives me a feeling deep in my stomach that I'm being unauthentic to the purpose of travel at the same time preaching it's necessity and deep seeded worth with mostly plagiarized lyrics and quotes from the internet... another paradox.
Through a combination of societal pressure, insta-famous people and a constant buzz from media outlets about the 'Top 10 things to do before you're 25' and 'What I was doing while you were having babies', we feel this enormous pressure to ensure our life amounts to something better than average.
This ostensible illustration is typical of the travel industry, but the infectious desire to appear relevant seems to filter into many facets of our lives.
On countless occasions I find myself scrolling through my newsfeed, rolling my eyes at the self professed 'wanderlusters' and travel junkies that were just last week on the #fitspo bandwagon and will be right there on the next trend hash tagging their lives away.
And although this annoys me to the umpteenth degree, I continue to indulge this habit.
When we become so righteous and self involved that we feel we're so inspirational and our lifestyles deserve the constant attention and gratification from those around us?
Social media can present a remarkable opportunity for connection, empowerment and breaking geographical boundaries, particularly in travel. But at what point does our self obsession with our outward projected selves begin to undermine the purpose of why we began travelling in the first place?
At this point, I'm not sure. Will I stop using social media to post my travel photos, #wanderlust? Probably not. But I endeavor to become more conscious in how I consume social media.
For those travelling for the sake of their social media feed, put the phone down, look up and enjoy the world around you.