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Is Social Media Ruining Travel?

Is social media ruining travel?

I realize this is a pretty loaded question…So let me first preface this article with my sentiments of how much I have grown to appreciate the reach of social media.

It’s created so many opportunities for me to meet new people, network and collaborate on interesting writing projects, showcase my love for photography and share my adventures.

After nearly 5 years in the travel blogging space, it now actually helps to support my travel lifestyle….but, it’s definitely changed how I travel.

To be absolutely transparent, sometimes I wonder if it’s ruined travel all together.

Is Social Media Ruining Travel?

Viewing the landscape through a camera in Ethiopia – 2019

For me, travel has always been a way to connect with myself and to the world around me.

It’s helped to recalibrate my focus on “the big picture” and ground myself through acquiring new experiences.

It sparked an expansive process of learning and unlearning; shook me awake from preconceived notions and taken-for-granted assumptions. Travel has always made me re-evaluate who I am and the life I want to live, helping me to grow and evolve.

In recent years, particularly after I began blogging in 2016, my travel experience changed. This aligned with the rise of social media in general, and as society became more and more inundated with images and videos, our experience of reality somehow began to feel less ‘real’.

But when did it take over?

is social media ruining travel?

Did it for the gram – snapping a pic in Ethiopia in 2019

I often fondly recall my solo trip backpacking through India in 2015, which was well before my blogging days.

With no laptop, no local SIM card to access the internet and no reason to document my experience, I was a lot more free to be spontaneous and in the moment. Not having wifi for days did not bother me in the least bit because I didn’t have a real need for it.

The disconnection was welcomed.

I had made peace with ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’ and would happily sit in a café for hours devouring an entire novel or simply observing my surroundings while savouring the taste and texture of whatever I’d ordered to eat.

It was one of the most mindful and peaceful times of my life.

is social media blogging ruining how we travel? the pink backpack travel blog

PRE-BLOGGING….Enjoying a moment of peace while on a hike in Munnar, India – 2015

My travel style has evolved quite a lot since then. At that time in 2015, I traveled just for the sake of traveling…with no expectations, no agendas, and no nagging urge to document details.

It’s was in those beautifully organic moments of self-reflection that arose through my uninterrupted thoughts, or perhaps while in an awe-struck state of wonder and child-like curiosity stemming from the novelty of a new environment or experience…that’s where the true growth, lessons, and unfolding happened.

These are the real reasons I travel.

NOW…..Blogging while living on an island in Greece – 2020

I’ve definitely had moments since launching this blog, where I’ve got so caught up with social media that I wasn’t truly present. Instead of engaging with those around me with compassion and intention, or fully absorbing my surroundings, I was often distracted by trying to document the experience (ironically detracting from it).

It’s like we’re so focused on trying to capture the moment, that we often miss it.

We view life through the screen of our phones, instead of actually living it.

How can we achieve and benefit from the wonderful aspects that come along with traveling the world, when we’re so fixated with the ‘online world’ we’ve curated?

So, we’ve come back to my fully loaded question: is social media ruining travel?

I think it ultimately comes down to each person and their values and priorities. I also think that it’s important for each of us to consider how social media is influencing our daily lives – whether we are traveling or not.

For me? You can still expect to find me active on social media – but I will be trying to bring travel back to its basics….offline.

Is social media ruining travel? 

Is it changing how you travel?

How do you find a balance?

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comment section!

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What are your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * said:
Hi Joshua, Thanks for your comment; I can totally relate with the Wi-Fi issues! It feels frustrating at times but can be a good reminder to disconnect and enjoy the present moment. I haven't heard of the red sweater project but I will look into it. My experience of Tanzania has been great so far! I would highly recommend coming :)
September 8, 2016 at 5:28 am said:
These are great ideas! I agree that it is important to stay connected, but not get burnt out. It is definitely about finding balance :)
September 8, 2016 at 5:26 am said:
Hi Jane, I 100% agree; I had thought I had the ability to disconnect to a certain extent but find that I feel the same way when I have unpredictable wifi. I have to stop and realize there is more to life! I am happy you no longer feel the pressure! :)
September 2, 2016 at 11:50 am
Joshua Dale Dent said:
Hi Stephanie, I recently went to the Philippines with the plan of blogging every day. The trip couldn't have worked out better when I realized the Wi-Fi absolutely sucked where I was at:) I just took pictures, and wrote in my journal. Went back to the basics. And, I loved it. I am considering Tanzania in the Winter with a project called the Red Sweater Project, teaching Indigenous children in the rural areas. If you have any feedback on Tanzania, or this project, I would love to hear it:)
September 1, 2016 at 8:17 pm
Tatum Skipper said:
I feel the same way with Jane! I have only been blogging for a little over 4 months now and already told myself that I would wait until I got home to write posts and create content for my blog. I make sure that while I'm gone that I don't go MIA. I will still post that perfect picture on Instagram/facebook/twitter and since I am trying to be consistent with my blog posts, I make sure I have a couple to post while I'm gone on a trip. All of these little things take no more than 30 minutes. It's a way to stay connected and to keep people entertained until you get home. Love this post and how you worded things. I guess it all really is about balance and making sure you keep enjoying things before you get burnt out! :)
August 30, 2016 at 12:46 pm
Jane Clements said:
Hi Stephanie. This is a great article and something that I have been thinking about a lot recently. I have been blogging for more than 3 years and I had thought that I disconnected from the technology while travelling to a certain extent - enjoying the moment and writing my posts later. Until I went to Laos where the wifi connection was never anything less than unpredictable and then Spain when both my camera and my phone broke! Both situations caused me unbelievable stress - so much so that I still haven't replaced my camera and phone so that I no longer have to feel the pressure to get the perfect picture
August 30, 2016 at 7:07 am