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The Internet (and Social Media) Ruined Travel

by Eli Duncan, Editor-in-Chief

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The fact that the internet has made travel far more accessible than ever before. Sure, international data is expensive but trading Apple Maps or Siri for a paper map or far worse, talking to someone new, is a hard sell for most people. And gone are the days where it was a herculean task to book a flight and hotel (Trivago anyone?). You can now look at fifteen different flights for vastly different places all in one place.

Even with all the benefits, the internet and social media has ruined our overly “smart” world. Smartphones, watches, juicers, luggage and even shoes has become a new trend. Everything has to be “smart”. This has ruined a lot of the normal fun in life, it ruined the experience of experiences.

We have all seen it when on vacation, selfie-sticks and phones high in the air. The endless stream of selfies and impromptu photoshoots (Here’s a hint: No-one wants to see you doing the same pose for the hundredth time on your Instagram page. Change it up a bit.). When you finally get the selfie that you want, you then spend the next bit of time editing the picture, thinking of all the right tags to maximize exposure, and burying your face into your phone because you need to get X number of likes within the hour. While you were being a walking brand deal (a free one at that) for the local tourism board, you missed a local selling his own beautiful art or some local restaurant. You got lost in curating the perfect Instagram feed or snapchat story instead of getting lost in the moment.

Objectively speaking, the idea that there is no place on Earth that is undiscovered is a good thing. People are appreciating the beauty our planet has to offer us and hopefully taking steps to help conserve the earth. But this is an opinions piece so I don’t like that. Every previously “undiscovered” place is now flooded with tourists with research that covers an “influencer’s” Instagram page and Googling “the best undiscovered Instagram spots in [insert country here].” The places that are on that list are undoubtedly covered with tourist so you won’t get that banger Instagram picture that you want.

One of life’s biggest questions is if we are alone in the universe. Alone is a scary thought for humans. Especially in a world so connected as today, being alone is nearly impossible. We rely on social media to shelter ourselves from our thoughts. Even if you’re traveling alone, you will end up replying to comments or snaps, bringing your friend who’s laying in bed to the remote village in Northern Spain. Socially media stops us from being truly by ourselves with our thoughts, because that is scary.

The most fun you can ever have while traveling is to just explore. This means following your nose for great food, not where the travel website says to go. Find a hidden gem in the city that you spent a lot of money flying to, not a top sightseeing destination. The spirit of travel is discovery. Without getting overly preachy about this, “discovery” is about making your own path, not following a list.

This is just one point-of-view in all of this, and I’m not perfect in all of this. My Instagram feed is curated to be full of banger pictures. I work hard for all of my pictures but I (try to) post them after the trip or meal is over so I can live in the moment. Call me a hypocrite but my point is you don’t want to become an advertiser for TripAdvisor (without getting paid, obviously) and your friends don’t want to follow that anyways. They just don’t.

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