Saturday, May 20, 2017

Social Media while Travelling: Yes or No

In some of the most beautiful places that I have been to in the last many months, I didn't have an internet connection or any connectivity with the world. Be it Lakshadweep, Bhutan or Kashmir, even when I could have got a local SIM or used the hotel wifi, I chose not to.

I usually click loads of photos, make videos, timelapses and notes on my phone, but I prefer cutting off from the internet, social media and to most extent even phone calls completely during the travel duration (apart from the one short call to mom every night because she insists), be it a short 3 day trip or a 7-10 day trip. Somehow not being on the world wide web or not being available to attend calls or reply to whatsapp messages is something I always look forward to. It is kind of liberating (apart from creating the mystery of my whereabouts in the minds of a few people who I think care).


Professionally as a travel blogger, this perhaps isn't good. To increase the social media reach and influence, live updates are the best. I just wonder how people can have LIVE Instagram Stories all through their travel time; I completely fail to find a balance. (Of course on sponsored trips I do the updates, usually way more than what I promise and I don't hate them as long as I am having fun and getting paid to do that)

But if given a choice I think I would always prefer avoiding it. Avoiding the urge to update my current whereabouts or the most picturesque scene in front of me on Instagram and instead grasping it all through my eyes, clicking the best ones on the camera and saving them for later. I would rather enjoy the sight, smell the air, feel the chill and the warmth and soak in the surroundings. That, when I am a self-confessed social media addict.

Till sometime back, I used to have the strong urge to upload that one photo right in that moment. It gave me some kind of intense satisfaction. But then one time I didn’t do it and saved it for later. I realized I was more satisfied and had a better story to tell with the picture than I would have had I uploaded it right then. Isn’t that why we love to travel? To listen to and narrate more beautiful stories?

When I am travelling, I would rather take part in the conversation happening around me, be with the people I am with at the moment, look at the tiniest of details of the place, and wonder which adventure lurks around the hidden corner that I must try before leaving. I would rather try the item with the weird name on the menu, wonder why the café is called Little Buddha, figure how to cross the short 6 feet stream without falling from the tree trunk that’s lying low on it, and click the most random and senseless pictures because I feel like.

I would rather have my neck held high instead of bending and staring into the phone screen every few minutes or hours. I would rather save all the updates and showoff for later, for when the trip is over and I am back at home and I have the time to reflect and put up the best for the world to see. The 'wows', 'so beautiful', 'I want to go there and do that' comments will still come in equal numbers. What I would have achieved is getting the best of both the worlds without compromising on absolutely anything.

The candid picture of me above was taken at Chandanwadi near Pahalgam in Kashmir (April 2017). This is the starting point of the 32km Amarnath trek which happens in July. I was struggling to climb down the steep slope without slipping. Falling in the snow here could mean rolling down several feet before coming to a halt and severely hurting myself. But then I had climbed all the way up until here even when most others didn’t. There is some satisfaction that overcoming challenges like these brings that can never compete with even the most popular social media post.


But then this is just my way of travelling. To be or not to be on social media while travelling- what's your opinion?

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2 comments :

  1. Wow..So well written. Now, you have given me a serious goal of thinking if its a nay or yay for me. Give me a month or two 's time and i shall get back to you with my answer 😊

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