Doing it for the gram
I have been inspired to write this after visiting far too many countries this year and a ton of tourist spots. Something right around the globe seems to be common practice. That is viewing life through a screen. But watching what is behind you with yourself on the screen. AKA SELFIES.
This morning I was lining up to purchase a ticket to enter Park Guell. In front of me were two girls. We were lining up, nothing special around us. But this is the moment. The time to shine. Let me take a selfie, no make that two. Ok, how about 20. No wait I need to pull my face like this. No, let’s not smile that will not be sexy. I noticed that she was wearing a short skirt, clear stockings, full face of makeup. It was 2 degrees outside. I was wearing a snow jacket and thermals. Their intent was not to learn about the culture, the history or appreciate the beauty. How has travel adapted to this pursuit of self-worth – the validation social media provides in the form of digital high fives?
In the evening I stopped by Cathedral Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter, I enjoyed the beauty and then I started to people watch. Why are people here, why did they come from all corners of the globe to visit this site? So enjoy my analysis of the different types of selfie-takers. I have been there before. I have transitioned through all the phases. I was once pursuing online validation. Now I try to entertain, share the beauty of the world and spread the love.
This building is so huge – How can we get this phone to fit us and the entire building in?
Yep, this is a common problem we all face, I even struggle at times with my crop sensor DSLR. I wish I had a greater budget to buy a full-frame and a few more lenses. For now: A GoPro is an awesome solution. Comes with various selfie-sticks and you can change how wide you want the view to be.
I am traveling alone and need some Instagram shots
Only recently I started to really use Instagram. We all have different styles. I had a selfie stick too in the first 3 months of my travels. A year later I now use a tripod and remote. I also don’t see the need to take selfies anymore. But having been there myself not too long ago I understand the attraction of a selfie stick. You do not want to bother others asking them to take a photo of you that you may never end up using. I may be wrong but they tend to be a phase you will grow out of. Initially, they are the greatest invention but everyone I know who owned one once has just replaced it with a good old arm.
We are so cool because we traveled to x and we are the best of friends
Let’s just pull some different faces and keep snapping away. One of them is bound to be perfect. You can’t help but ask are these photos a way of cementing a beautiful memory for a friendship or will they be uploaded to social media shortly – In the anticipation of likes to validate self-worth.
We are so in love and in the perfect relationship: I mean we can travel together
I promise I am not bitter. Yes I was in love once – A loooong time ago. We took some photos. But pre-selfie days. We would prop the camera up and set a timer, maybe get someone else to take a photo of us. Those are beautiful memories so it does make me go aww how sweet like this couple. But what makes me go WTF is the couple this morning I observed staring into each other’s eyes lovingly whilst holding a hand out snapping away. I wonder if they ever actually do that or is the entire point showing the world “look how in love we are”. Is staged selfies necessary for a happy relationship?
Take a photo of me being cool and the 30 other people in the frame
The problem with tourist traps is you are not alone. Usually, there are hundreds of others. Trying to get a photo of just you alone is near to impossible, except… If you wake up at 4 am like I have done just to take photos of amazing sites without hundreds of strangers in your frame.
The amateur model
I struggle to relate to this since I have never gotten dressed up for a staged photo shoot. Especially not for one with an iPhone.
Reconsider your need to travel
If you are traveling for social media validation, Instagram worthy shots then stay home. If you are traveling to learn about different cultures, experience new foods, visit amazing sites and make tons of new friends keep booking those tickets. I wrote this not to judge but to remind you to not miss this beautiful world out there. Your phone can wait.