The pink backpack Toronto tourism - CN tower



Is Social Media Ruining How We Travel?

Is social media ruining how we 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. As a fairly new blogger, it has 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.

Particularly for full-time, location independent bloggers, social media can certainly be a wonderful thing – but is it changing how you actually travel?

For me, travel has always been a way to connect to life; to readjust my focus on “the big picture” and ground myself through acquiring new experiences: learning about new cultures and languages and religions; being shaken from my preconceived notions and taken-for-granted understandings of the world. It has always made me re-evaluate who I am and the life I want to live. But as I live in Tanzania and attempt to make it as a travel blogger, I note this feeling is harder and harder to attain.

Perhaps it is because our society has become so heavily inundated with visual images and videos, our experience of reality has become intricately tied to our electronic devices and social media. But when did it take over?

 Sometimes it feels we have become so fixated with ‘likes’ and ‘follow counts’, or of what is trending or marketable, that it’s actually ruining authentic travel.

I recall my solo trip backpacking through India last year – with no laptop, no local SIM card and no travel blog, I was a lot more free to be spontaneous and in the moment. Not having Wifi for days could not have bothered me less – I didn’t have a real need for it. I had made peace with the act of doing nothing and would happily sit in a café devouring an entire novel or meditate through the morning in a temple. It was the most mindful and perhaps the most at peace I have ever felt.

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

Now as a blogger, my experience abroad in Tanzania is completely different. I find myself navigating the new responsibilities of running a website and the priorities that come along with it. The trouble is, these priorities compete with the aspect of travel I hold so near and dear: The beautiful moments of self-reflection that arise through one’s uninterrupted thoughts; the adventure of wandering and getting purposely lost; or the awe-struck feeling of learning something new through a novel experience. is social media blogging ruining how we travel? the pink backpack travel blog

How can we attain the wonder and marvel that comes along with traveling the world when we’re so fixated with the ‘online world’ we’ve created?

Before coming to Africa, I anticipated that I would have ample inspiration and time to really focus on my blog and expanding its content and reach.

There was only one problem: I stopped enjoying it.

I mean, isn’t time spent traveling supposed to be care-free and fun? Instead, as I attempt to take my blogging to a more serious level, I find myself feeling the opposite: worried about meeting deadlines, frustrated about unreliable Wi-Fi connections and anxious about upcoming media collaborations.

I got so caught up with what I would post on social media, that I wasn’t truly present while traveling. Instead of fully absorbing my surroundings and taking in the new sights and sounds, I was attempting to “document” what I was doing. I was viewing life through the screen of my phone instead of actually experiencing it.

So, we’ve come back to my fully loaded question: is social media ruining how we 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…to its most authentic experience.

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!

Read next:

Ethics of Travel Photography

The Everyday Struggles only a Traveller will Understand

Writer’s Block and the Creative Process

Yes, I’m Alone…No, I Won’t Marry You

What are your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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