I wonder what percentage of Tinder bios include something travel-related. Maybe it’s around half of all Tinder profiles? Who knows. It’s usually something like, ‘I have a passion for travel’, ‘I’m obsessed about travel’ or includes the cringiest of terms, such as ‘traveller’, ‘adventurer’, ‘wanderlust’ or ‘vagabond’. And you can bet that their travel photos are used so you know that they’re super fun people. I don’t want to make another ‘this is what millennials are all about’ article, but it does seem that travelling is a core obsession for a lot of young people. You could say that millennials do value travel more than previous generations, since it’s more important to them than saving for a home. But this obsession with travel (maybe even an over-obsession)- as well as the nature of social media– has resulted in the rise of some pretty annoying travel trends.
1. Over-saturated photos
It annoys me when people crank the saturation on their photos all the way up. I know people want to make their photos look as nice as possible, but take it easy on the saturation people! I’ll increase the saturation a bit on my photos because I have a budget camera which seems to capture photos with slightly muted colours. I’m trying to make the photos match, as much as I can, what I was actually seeing. But turning up the saturation so much so that the sky looks impossibly blue and everything looks kind of fake… surely there’s an element of wanting to generate envy here? It’s trying to make the place seem more beautiful than it actually was (although with over-saturation, it’s kind of sore on the eyes).
I’m not saying I’m a photography expert, but there is something show-offy about photos being manipulated so much as to create an unrealistic and over-glamourised impression of what a place was actually like.
2. Cliché poses
On Instagram, there is no shortage of people posing in beautiful places in an orchestrated and cliché way. Some of these overdone poses truly make me cringe. One is the classic photo taken from behind, with the person at some viewpoint with their arms outstretched, as if to say, ‘I’m so overjoyed to have conquered this epic hike and I’m going to throw my arms up to show how epic this place is … someone please take a photo to capture this precious moment!’
However, I think the most sickening cliché pose is that one with couples, were the boyfriend takes a photo of his girlfriend holding his hand, leading him through some beautiful city or landscape. ‘Oh look how magical and spontaneous this moment is, let me quickly but perfectly capture it.’
3. Inspirational quotes
There are loads of wise travel-related quotes out there, many of which are regularly circulated online. Such as this one from Saint Augustine:
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great quote, and it helps to highlight that the world has so much to offer in terms of experiences, and it’d be a shame to miss out on that. But there can be some arrogance in using a quote like this and thinking that being well-travelled is what life is all about and that those who don’t travel as much as you are less ‘well read’, to continue with Augustine’s analogy.
At the end of the day, though, travelling is a luxury and a privilege that only a tiny minority of the world’s population can enjoy. And not everyone attaches so much importance to it, or has the time and money to travel as much as they’d like to. There’s no shame in using this privilege to its full advantage and being grateful for the experiences. But I often feel that these inspirational quotes are regurgitated with the aim of claiming some sort of ‘spiritual high ground’, without really recognising that travelling can be a positive and enriching lifestyle choice – but it doesn’t guarantee a fulfilling life.
It’s awesome that 20-somethings place such a high value on travel, as it includes a life of invaluable experiences. But there are clearly social media trends that have turned a ‘passion for travel’ into something a bit more pretentious and cringeworthy, maybe even competitive. Travelling - like anything else considered to be positive - can turn into a bit of an ego game. And while this may help you to get Instagram followers, it may make you a lot more annoying in the process.