The Most Important Lesson Instagram Taught Me
Oh, how many times I’ve heard what a great travel inspiration Instagram is. I have to admit, I created my Instagram account because of this blog. But I fell in love with it quickly. I was very enthusiastic. I followed tons of other travellers and photographers. I felt inspired. I found places like Hallstatt or Algarve.
Then I started to realize that majority of the follows and comments are automated. I got fed up with the stars and flames and hearts appearing under my posts. I also realized that the world as I see it on Instagram is just too perfect. Even the rainy, foggy landscapes look perfect – well, that’s what you get for following professional photographers.
Using Instagram too often didn’t do much good to me. Whenever I saw a beautiful picture, my first thought was: “I wanna be there and see this for real!”. I wondered whether I can possibly ever see it… when and how?
Fear of missing out
The more I used Instagram the more I felt how pathetic my life is while everyone is constantly on the move to explore all the pretty places around the world. Let me guess, now you think that this is exactly how our feed makes you feel. Well, sorry, I meant to be inspiring… But what went wrong then?
When I first read about this thing called the “Fear of missing out”, I instantly realized that this is what screwed up my travel dreams. This fancy term applies to all of us who want to experience it all but end up missing it all.
Social media and particularly Instagram with its perfectly photoshopped pictures of dreamy beaches and unbelievably colorful landscapes has its part in it. We can easily see all the fun activities other people are doing and all the breathtaking places they are visiting. And we do see these far too often and they make us feel we are missing out.
Who to blame?
We can blame social media, but we’d better take a closer look at what’s really happening. The thing is that we are incredibly privileged. Probably no other generation before us had so many opportunities we have today: countless exchange programs, studying and working abroad, volunteer opportunities or remote work. Travel has never been so available to everyday people than today. Are we really so fucked up that we feel miserable?
No, I don’t hate Instagram. I hate the fact that I let myself being torn apart by all the opportunities I can have. Making a decision is usually hard for me. Choosing one path over all the others means I lose something. I lose all the other opportunities. But what if I don’t choose? Then I can end up losing the chance to choose, that’s what.
We don’t have all the choices we think we have
It’s relieving to realize that in reality I don’t have that much opportunities. Unlimited opportunities are just an illusion. The truth is, whatever I choose, I will be always missing out on a bunch of other things. Just like I can’t be in more places at the same time, I can’t choose more paths to follow. I have only one life and I can follow only one path.
Likewise, travel dreams have no limits, but in reality I have limited time. Though travel is important to me, it’s not the only important thing in my life. It’s not very likely that I will visit all the beautiful countries on the planet. I don’t even want to. It’s also quite likely that I won’t see all the places I got attracted to because of Instagram. But it doesn’t bother me anymore.
When less is more
It’s not more experiences that I want. Rather I want to experience things more deeply. I want to fully enjoy the places I end up visiting. And I want to fully enjoy the time when I don’t go anywhere and don’t do anything special. That’s what Instagram has taught me in the end.
And how do I feel if I browse through our own feed? Hell, I’m envy of ourselves.
What about you? Do you make decisions easily? Do you feel torn apart by all your dreams sometimes?
Bea is the co-founder of Our Wanders. She’s the writer and the trip organizer, and she’d love to help you plan your own amazing trips! She likes hiking, good novels and chocolate, as well. Her motto is: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” (John A. Shedd)