A couple of weeks ago, I arrived back in Geordie Land after a wonderful 10 days spent in Mauritius. However, after arriving home, I was asked many-a-time, “where were all of your photos?” As someone who regularly updates her Instagram with birds-eye-view photos of her brunch, this made me think about two things: (1) Eeeh, the Instagram algorithm isn’t all bad. Some people do pay attention to my photos. (2) Why do I find joy in taking 7 photos of an oat milk latte but once I’m in Actual Paradise, I can’t be bothered to whip out my phone or camera?
Why I Don’t Take Many Photos on Holiday
Mauritius would have been the perfect location for upping my Instagram feed. The colour of the sea didn’t need a filter. I ate a lot of smoothie bowls. #wellness. Heck, I stopped wearing Stan Smiths every day and wore some decent outfits.
But to be perfectly honest, I never felt the temptation. As someone whose job is predominantly spent looking at a computer and whose hobby includes blogging (hello you ENABLERS) – the last thing I wanted to do on holiday, was to stare at yet another screen.
Instead, I spent my holiday reading, eating and most importantly – spending some quality time bonding with my boyfriend. It was a gorgeous holiday. Even if it didn’t appear to be on the ‘gram.
Instagram Has Altered Where and Why We Travel
I’ve been thinking about travel and Instagram as a whole. There’s no doubt that since Instagram has launched, it’s altered the travel industry. The geotag function has influenced where we travel. Put your hand up if you’ve ever booked a holiday because it looked cool on Instagram. I have – and a few times, too! I’ve got Instagram to thank for inspiring me to visit Marrakech, Copenhagen, Vietnam and more.
However, I feel like Instagram has also altered why we travel. Whilst travel was once all about exploration and enjoying the moment, I think it’s safe to say that many people now travel as a means of ‘ticking off’ different photographic locations. One of the main points of the trip is nailing that shot for Instagram. Heck, I’m guilty of doing this, too!
Confession: I Used to Travel for the ‘Gram
A couple of years ago, I spent my 21st birthday in Paris with two of my friends. However, mid-holiday, one of my friends pulled me aside. “I feel like you booked this trip to just get photographs for Instagram.” And although it was brutal to hear at the time – she was right. I was so preoccupied with getting the shot – and showing my very small number of followers – that I was having the Best Birthday Ever in Paris. In reality, I had only seen Paris through the viewfinder of my camera, followed by a VSCO filter I used to edit said photos.
That was years ago, and I still respect my friend so much for telling me the truth. She got the cogs turning in my head. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to go on a further eight holidays. However, I’ve taken fewer photos in all of those holidays combined than I did in one five-day trip to the French capital. Mental.
I don’t mean this to sound like a rant. I genuinely have no qualms with people taking lots of photos on holiday. I’m in awe of people that do it well like Emily and Hannah. They create beautiful content. However, I think it’s all about balance and the reasoning behind taking a photograph. If you’re doing it just for the gram – or to make other people jealous – then it’s time to rethink your game.
Instagram Landmarks vs. Reality
I recently read an article that revealed the frustrations of tourists that were disappointed after visiting the Pura Luhur Lempuyang in Bali. The landmark is home to two temples that resemble a gate. Whatsmore, the lake below that reflects the temple makes it the perfect Instagram shot.
However, it turns out that the lake does in fact, not exist. Influencers and photographers that have flocked to the temple create this look by holding a mirror underneath the camera lens. To put it bluntly, it’s a camera trick. But it’s one that’s led to hundreds of tourists visiting every day to get their shot for the ‘gram.
Whatsmore, the scene itself isn’t as serene and quiet as it’s portrayed as in images. Instead, you’ll find a long queue of tourists waiting to get their turn to take a photo in-between the gate. It’s madness when you truly think about it.
So, what are your thoughts on Instagram and travel as a whole? Do you find yourself taking specific photos for the ‘gram, or are they more of a memento for yourself? A way of capturing a memory. Let me know your thoughts below.7