If you have any social media you’ll know exactly what I am talking about when I describe an artsy picture with a girl leading a guy off into the beautiful scene before her. I see pictures like this daily thanks to Instagram’s discover page. A new-ish subculture of “travel Instagrammers” has not only developed, but flourished in only a year or two.
The idea of blogging about your travels or vacations are not new. Parents and young adults alike have been doing it forever. Sometimes we don’t even know when we’re doing it. Of course there are moms who make actual blog websites where they post about their travels and family pictures from around the world. With social media, blogging can be as simple as a Facebook status with a few pictures from your vacation. No matter the way you share it, the motive is the always the same: be seen.
We all love to go away from our regular routines and it would seem unnatural if you came back from a good time not to show off how great it was. But these new Instagram accounts that exclusively show off where they have gone and all the nice perks they had while they were there seem to be preying on everyone’s innate love to travel. Upon first glance, these Instagram accounts are great to look at. Not only do you get to see fantastic places like Dubai and Bali, places that most people just realistically will never get to travel to, but most of the time these accounts are run by very attractive twenty-somethings.
I remember when I first downloaded Instagram, I followed dozens of accounts completely dedicated to travel. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. What these people are doing is fostering people’s insecurities. Not only are these young adults (the majority of Instagram’s users) able to travel across the world, but they are attractive and rich. Scrolling through your news feed or your discover page, it gets incredibly disheartening after seeing your fifteenth toned, attractive guy with his skinny, bikini-clad girlfriend under a massive waterfall. It’s already enough having to feel like you need to compare yourself to your friends’ social media accounts but it gets dangerous when people start to follow and keep up with these accounts that consistently make your ego hit rock bottom.
And seriously, where does all their money come from? Not only are they going to exotic destinations, but they are staying in the multi-million dollar hotels and going on thousand dollar excursions that I will never be able to afford. It took me so long to realize that they almost exclusively make their money off advertisements; this concept is not new either. Young adults who have made a living off YouTube get almost all their money from pulling products/services and merchandise. Poor souls, like myself, who followed these accounts just to see the far off locations, get confused how a 21-year-old college dropout can afford such things.
That brings me to my last point. The culture it promotes encourages young adults away from reality. I am not ignorant to the fact that college or a traditional career is not made for everyone, but most of these travel Instagrammers openly discuss that college was not right for them or that it is easier to make a living away from higher education. In reality, this applies to so few, but when they discuss it, it is in such a persuasive way that it makes every watcher want this lifestyle. I think it is not only unrealistic but manipulative.
Surely there is a time and a place to be excited about your travels but an entire account dedicated to your extraordinary travels may not be the best way.