Wanna know a secret?
Sometimes I’m envious of how traveling must've been back before camera phones and social media. When you could experience a new place or site for the first time without pretty squares within a hashtag to compare it to. When the thrill of adventure wasn't for likes and something to share with a community you've physically never met, but for the discovery and experience of a new thing.
And if you snapped a shot with all of your friends together, overlooking the city you've spent the last days adventuring through and leaving pieces of your heart in, you would rewind the camera and leave it at that. One uncertain shot. You only had so much film left but you're already anticipating to see ‘how it turned out’, and the truth is you really didn’t care if it was a little overexposed, or someone wasn’t looking, or if you hair wasn't just right. It really didn’t matter. You just wanted a photo to help you remember the joy and exhilaration you felt in the bones of your being as you experienced a moment of discovery; a moment you never wanted to forget, even if just in an imperfect photo.
And when your trip is over you'll add the printed photos to your album behind the protective slip and invite your dear friends over and let them ask you, "How was your trip?" You would bring out that album and flip through its pages, telling them every moment behind each bad photo. Cause really, it isn’t about the photo. It’s about the story, and the people you lived it with and the people you tell it to.
Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic stuck in a time that never will return, or maybe I'm imagining it way more glamorous than it truly was, but I really want more from the adventures we have. I want to give beautiful places the justice it deserves from us experiencing adventures with the joy and perspective it graces us with, and not just something to share online.
Sharing our adventures online sort of sometimes feels like going to school on a Monday after you’ve thought you've had a perfectly wonderful weekend of fun, and then hearing all about the birthday party you weren’t invited to. All the fun that was had without you. What you thought was awesome and you were perfectly content with, all of a sudden doesn’t feel good enough anymore. "Look where I am, and where you are not," is instead the message I often read on social media.
I’ll be honest, I was hesitant to share about about my recent trip to Nepal on social media. I wanted to be present during my travels, allowing myself to gain everything I possibly could because the experience deserves it. And the truth is, I wanted you to be present in your own moments too. It’s not that I think my life is anything more spectacular than yours or something to be covetous of, but I've been on the other side of the scrolling screen comparing what my reality was to other strangers' highlights. Feeling like my life wasn’t measuring up if I wasn’t traveling there, or sharing more about my life over here. It just didn't feel like enough.
And then I would become discontent. Restless. Idle. And I fear that if I am not moving forward in my own life then I cannot see beauty right where I am, I cannot experience the gratitude of places simply within reach. And I'll put to shame the experience wondrous sights could even provide cause I'm too distracted and blinded by the thoughts of 'where I am not.'
Our moments in life are so much more than something just to share in a square. Our moments are stepping stones to fulfilling our purposes. From laughter with friends, sweet adventures with loved ones, all the things we do are making up our life. But I’m afraid if our only motivation is to press share, if we're too busy living our lives off of other people's highlights, then we’ll simply miss our moments and the great gifts they were created for.
So I encourage you, to adventure without your followers sometime. Take a walk, and instead of taking a picture of the flowers you pass, smell them, appreciate them. On your next trip, don't take your phone or any devices for one of the days. And just soak it all up real well, be satisfied in knowing your whole experience will be enough to remember it by. I really think a new perspective to how we travel, and how we share our travels, is in store. And I hope to continue to do it justice as I continue in my own adventures, and maybe you can too.