The mountains are calling and I must go vs human jams on Everest Top, trekkers stuck for hours!
Must visit hill-stations this summer vs Shimla faces the worst water-crisis in its history, urges tourists to stay away!
There are many such recent headlines that you must have come across if you have any interest in the world of Travel.
The recent boon of social media has given rise to many a things, from voicing your opinions anywhere anytime to the attempt to gather maximum views and create a social equity. There is a new breed of professionals, which are defining how to use social media and boy, people have taken note.
From fashion and beauty bloggers teaching you how to apply make-up through in-their and in-your face videos to food bloggers and influencers telling you what and how to eat, to travel bloggers who are telling you how to travel, we have really come a long way or have we?
Filters on Instagram, checking-in at different FB locations every-day, edited travel pictures and travel videos are some new ways to appear cool. Still some people must be fed-up of seeing the fake smiles and touched-up pictures begging you to spread some love, like, share and comment on their content.
How can one define how the other person should travel?
And why should you take it from others what is cool for you?
Do you ever wonder, what and how much goes behind the amazing flawless pictures in the middle of nowhere, with influencers wearing the most exquisite dresses looking fresh as blooming daisies. Full marks to the creativity, but can you imagine yourself on a mountain top after days of tiring journey, a couple of sleepless nights, dizziness, AMS, possibly a stomach upset, looking the same?
Then why have such faffy dreams?
Travel is anything but glamorous!
Travel involves planning, effort, guts, leaving your comfort zone, wandering sometimes aimlessly, stress, exploration, introspection and many things. After all of this is done well, you earn experiences and sometimes memories. Memories in terms of pictures, videos etc. is a part of the process not the process itself.
Both, the ones feeding you such travel dreams and the ones getting crazy to live the same dreams are at fault. In travel, not one-size fits all. Have you ever asked if you are okay with walking miles on road to come across one thing you have never seen before, would you travel hundreds of miles and trek mountains to find that first ray of sun touch the mountain top, would you spend hours in a jungle trailing the wild animal, would you spend time with a local ladakhi family understanding their way of life and playing with the kids, would you love and feed stray hill dogs etc. without clicking pictures?
Would you do all this and more and not show it to the world?
Most of the people travel to show and not to see. All tourist spots are covered by Instagram, FB and whatever other social media handles, not human beings. Else why would people fight with each other to jump the queue and get their picture first; Instagram handles would do that. If it were humans, they would have understanding, they would have perseverance, patience and most importantly manners; social media handles dont have such things. They just have light, filters, colors and share options.
What happens when you follow your favorite travel bloggers and visit their tagged locations? Do you see the same filtered spots or do you spot landfills of plastic bottles, chips packets, people peeing on the roads, people having defecated on hill tops (take George Everest in Mussoorie as an example, thanks for the recent clean-up by authorities).
The point is your pictures can never be as perfect as you are not an influencer yet and selling fake dreams is not how you earn your livelihood. You are not getting paid for views or getting free gifts from lifestyle brands to deliver their messages to your ‘fans’. You are just a normal human being who wants an escape from the rut. You just want to be happy and explore the world you want to see.
Believe in yourself, figure out what you like and what you want to do. Travel for yourself. Do not blindly follow dreams being pushed to you via social media handles which are either fake or being sponsored by brands that want your time and money.
P.S. this article is penned by a guy who runs a Travel Company. Takes people on trips and sends people to different off-beat locations for their holidays. The article was penned during Escape to Ladakh, after seeing the plight of clueless travellers who have reached the cold desert without really knowing, what are they doing there.