A few weeks back, I remember chilling in one of the most popular coffee shops from where I work. The sun was blazing outside and the air-conditioned building was nothing short of a sanctuary. After about 2 hours of coding on my client's website, I decided to take a break by listening to the ambient humdrum of people conversing with each other.
And that's when I overheard it.
Behind me were two girls, roughly the same age as I, talking about how much they were looking forward to going to Boracay. I discreetly glanced at their direction only to find their heads buried deep in their smartphones, looking at "#travelgoals" and stuff like that on social media.
So I did the same.
I took out my phone, scrolled through countless IG posts tagged with #travelgoals and felt a slight tinge of envy.
"All my friends are out there enjoying the sun and I'm stuck here doing work." I thought. So I started to plan my next trip.
As I stood up to order another cup of espresso frappe with extra shot, I heard the clinking of spare change in my pocket — my last remaining cash that I can spend for that week. I was broke, after spending it all on the beach during the weekends for a month, just to cope with the demands of my social media profile.
In retrospect, I realized how social media pressures us into traveling. There seems to be the notion that if you can't afford to go someplace far, you're not cool. You're boring. You're out of the loop. But isn't that the point? To fall off the grid and let spontaneity take over?
Fast forward to today and I find myself thinking about why this millennial travel hype needs to calm the hell down. I hope that by the end of this article, you will have understood my point.
Point 1: Traveling for the sake of posting about it online
I am an advocate of urging people to experience things that they've never experienced before, but I want people to do it for meaningful reasons. As I go on about my travels, I often find myself dreaming of the day when people my age would see the deeper meaning behind traveling.
Faraway trips should be less about taking artsy photos and candid self portraits. Sure, you can snap an Outfit-of-the-Day selfie but please don't spend the entire day keeping yourself spick and span. Get wet, roll on the sand, and let the sun kiss your skin.
Point 2: Unhealthy obsession over traveling
Before the social media era, traveling used to be about getting lost. People did it because they wanted to get away from the mundanity of their daily lives. It was — and should be — an immersive experience. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case today. Millennials travel just so they can post about it on Facebook.
And that's it. After making a killer social media post, they return back to their old and narcissistic selves.
This unhealthy obsession also has negative effects on their daily lives. Millennials are literally going broke in order to maintain the image that they want to project. They don't pay bills on time, they borrow money from their parents, and they remain waist-deep in debt because they simply cannot resist that "piso-fare" flight or that 50% off hotel discount. Calling it ridiculous is an understatement.
So here's what I think. Millennials like me should think less about taking perfect-angled shots or which pair of sunglasses to wear. Let nature be your designer. The sand is your shoes, the beach is your outfit, and the sun is your hat.
Point 3: Traveling is not the magic bullet that people claim it to be
I'll be blunt, traveling will not solve your problems, unless you do it for the right reasons. Traveling is an amazing catalyst for change, but it's not the answer to everything. This misconception must have come from the countless "travel guru websites" that claim how constantly going to new destinations got rid of their problems.
"Contact us and see how travel changed our lives! It will certainly change yours as well!" and then they ask for your credit card information.
These, along with many pretentious "travelers" are the reason why so many people end up being disappointed after their trips.
You won't find the Philosopher's stone hidden away in some isolated cove. Until you put in the concentrated effort required to change yourself, traveling will never be the be-all-end-all of your life's problems.
Why should you travel?
If traveling isn't as miraculous and romanticized as others want you to believe, then why in the world should you do it?
Here's the thing: only you should know why.
However, this reason should stem from something unimaginably deep. Traveling should spark a childlike sense of curiosity and wonder and passion and amusement. It should shatter your boundaries and expose you into a state of terrifying yet mesmeric vulnerability.
Go ahead and take amazing shots, but never pass up the chance to make new memories. Immerse yourself in the experience and try to disconnect even for just a few hours.
Satisfy your desire to get lost.
Let me know why you travel in the comments section below.
comments powered by Disqus