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Instagram Is Not Your Life. Quit Traveling for Bragging Rights

Photo + Video + Film
by Nicole Sunderland Jan 23, 2017

For someone who has always been deeply passionate about travel, I am troubled by what “travel” is quickly becoming and probably here to stay. People used to travel for the experiences, the culture, the history, the food… and now, females around the globe are popping up on Instagram in long flowing dresses or gowns and taking pictures at iconic locations, in front of doors/floors/windows, with their hand on the back of their head in a an oversized hat, and then of course, laying in a bikini on the edge of an infinity pool… calling themselves travel bloggers. They are trying to fill their Instagram feed up with photos of bragging rights and setting aside the actual point of traveling.

What happened to taking our time and getting to know the culture? Why aren’t we out watching sunsets around the globe or better yet, waking up early to see it rise?

Why when I am traveling must I wait 2 hours for this girl to take the perfect shot of herself in front of whatever building, pool or landmark that is popular today just so she can narrow it down to 1 photo to put on her Instagram – that will most likely never follow-up with a blog post about the area, history, culture, or even what she learned when she was visiting.

Don’t get me wrong – I like some of these photos. It takes many hours to think out an outfit, get ready for the shot, find the place it will be taken, making sure your hair is flowing in just the right direction, waiting for no one to be in the shot, and then editing hundreds of photos down to 1.

I just wish you would refer to yourself as a photographer… and not a travel blogger.

If you don’t have a blog, you are not a blogger.

If you don’t write about travel beyond the location you took a selfie or well-groomed body shot in some field, you are not a travel blogger.

You are a chick with a camera, good hair and a dress.

Travel blogging is an art. Its purpose is to inspire people to travel. If the inspiration only goes as far as is getting someone to replicate your photo, is that really travel blogging or will these followers spend their entire time at these locations obsessing about having the perfect photo of themselves in it? Who needs to learn about Venice anyway when there are so many photo ops!

In the 10 years I have been traveling both domestically and internationally, I have rarely taken a photo of myself at any location. I am more interested in taking a photo of the location and moving on to learn more about it. I like to share photos of hotels, landscapes, food, sunsets, anything I find interesting along my travels. I’m not saying there is any right way to be a blogger – but running to the next pool in Morocco because everyone has a shot of them in it from above, is not traveling – it’s replicating someone you saw on Instagram.

I beg you current and future travelers of the world, please put down the selfie stick and take a look around. It’s an amazing world out there and you are going to miss it while capturing magazine photos of yourself.

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