#Forthegram – You may have recognised this hashtag emerging in recent weeks. Do it for The Gram has become a popular phrase, not only amongst travellers. Probably in every area of our life, we can relate to this phrase. Do it for the gram during your lunchtime, dinner, tea time, for your Saturday nights, or exploring new destinations.
Technology and social media have literally transformed so many different areas of our society already during the last decade. From politics, especially elections, to how-to-do-squats-correctly, finding your next perfect dinner recipe for your crush to finding new destinations that you could explore. While back in the past, there was always a certain proportion that remained mysterious, it’s nowadays relatively easy to do your research.
We have come to a point where people have developed a great distaste for people who generally engage with passion for social media. Some people demonise social media and blame this tool for all the bad things that are connected with them: Addiction, dependency, pleasing other people, consuming trash all the time. But does social media honestly earn such a badge?
Social Media Is Truly An Experiment Of Human Behaviour
The human mind is a fascinating thing. We are able to create extraordinary things and there are literally no limits to what you can imagine. And no limits to what you can achieve. Thanks to our minds we have created masterpieces in arts and culture. Inventing technologies that brought us to the moon and to the wider universe. Connected us with people from all over the world.
While there is no doubt that technology has brought mankind to the next level, our minds are still in its most basic and at least developed form. Still, our mind is looking for approval, acceptance and most importantly: Attention. Society has programmed us in such a way that we either gain pleasure or experience pain. If you do “good things” you will gain the attention that your mind is looking for. You will experience pain if you don’t get the attention you desperately want. It’s not your fault. It’s not your parents’ fault. It’s because you have been taught conditionally to agree to those norms. And even most of our parents have never known different norms than those. At the end, they want the best for you.
These issues have always existed and will continue to exist. Some people are more aware of it, other have never developed or even thought about the inner workings of our minds At the very least, social media has scaled up those effects: We do everything in order to gain attention, thus getting the pleasure. We please other people, we do almost everything in order to get the attention that we have been conditioned to as “something we must gain.”
No Clarity: Know Your ‘Why’
And because social media has become a place where we can easily gain the attention, approval, or the social acceptance, people try to prove themselves. When they travel, they try to get that perfect shot. They come with their gear to amazing places that are truly mesmersing and worth a shot. They scramble through the crowds in order to get that perfect spot to take a couple of shots, take out their selfie-sticks to take the perfect group photo. Some people say that your IG feed is like your business card. And that may be true or not. But after all, I have asked myself: Why do some people do this after all? What’s the purpose of all of that?
If you don’t know your why, then why do you even participate in this social phenomena in the first place? I know my why: Because I am a creative person who loves photography, travelling and loves to educate and contribute to other people. My identity is more aligned to that of a content creator and aspiring entrepreneur. And that’s why I have no issue waking up in the morning and go out to take a couple of shots. Because it’s part of my identity as a content creator. I do it and it doesn’t matter where i am right now or what is happening right now in my immediate environment.
But if you don’t know your why, then why do you deliberately ruin your travel experience? Traveling is about exploring the unknown, uncover the mysterious places. Experience new places, so that you have a story to tell to your children and future grandchildren. If scrambling through the supposedly perfect spot at Australia’s Twelve Apostles or Bali’s Nusa Pendia Island, then you will find yourself in a very troubled corner: You don’t travel for your experience or for your own dreams. You dream other people’s dreams and you try to fit in their “perfection” and not in yours.
Living This Moment: Keep The Balance
And even though you may know your why: You don’t have to give up on one thing, just because you are chasing for the other things. Travelling is not always about the hustle and the hard grind. It’s about the experience. Separate those two things. Travel photography and travelling are two different buckets. And you can’t force to get the perfect shots or the perfect moments if you force yourself to get one. That only proves that you try to please other people’s expectations and not your owns.
Even professional travel photographers who make a living with that know how to keep the balance. They travel around to get a broader horizons and to collect the moments that will last forever. And they know how to let their professional photographers out to get the perfect shots without ruining their overall travel experience. So, start living this moment. Fully indulge yourself where you are right now. Don’t please other people. They will probably give a damn about you anyway. Collect moments and experiences that you can tell to your best friends and your loved ones, once you are back. Know when to get out and take some shots but don’t allow this to become your permanent mantra.