Traveling Man: What I Learned in Thailand

I just got back from my trip to Thailand and it was amazing. So many great Instagram filters applied, so many witty descriptions for my Facebook pictures, and so many likes. There was other stuff in Thailand too, but I forget what.

My social media habits sometimes feel like a nuclear arms race for happiness and attention-grabbing moments. Endless albums of parties, sporting events, trips, and shenaniganry come flying at me through my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds.

Shared content from websites like Buzzfeed give me easily digestible lists, like, “20 reasons to just get out there and just go for it and just do you”  {insert two, hip, 20 somethings jump-fiving on a beach}.

But all of these lists, photos, and blogs have culminated into an uneasy feeling: having fun isn’t worth having unless it’s shareable.

How does my fun stack up to everyone else’s fun?

My fun needs to be just as fun as your fun, and the photos and posts need to back it up.

I’m starting to feel the “have fun and get out there” content bubble up around me and it’s hard to wade through what I like to do and what I want people to know I do. Am I doing this because I like it or am I doing it because it’s a great social media trophy to mount on my wall?

For example, I have found myself posting food pictures on Instagram recently. I’m not a foodie. Not even close. I could give a shit about cooking meals and what the latest food trends are.

But because others post their food, I feel compelled to post mine.

 The same goes for travel. The big difference here is that I love to travel. But the Buzzfeed lists and Facebook posts have seemingly latched on to me so tightly that social media anxiety became a stowaway on my life-changing trip to Thailand.

While planning what beach to hit next or what cities to see the ghost of social media future kept whispering in my ear, “Post this place. Your ‘friends” will love it.” But instead, this pressure to find a social media trophy casts a shadow over the entire trip. And I wanted to spit shine that sucker and post it all over the place.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after I had returned from elephant petting, scuba diving, and tuk tuk riding that I realized all I missed. My trip should have never been a show and tell. I am embarrassed to even admit that I spend even one second thinking about what people on the Internet machine would think. Sad too, is the fact that the odds of me going back are about as good as me getting a triple digit “like” on anything I post.

So lesson learned. Next trip I take will be for me, and whoever ever I’m with — and for nobody else.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing all the amazing experiences I’ve had. But it is wrong using the likes and comments as my goal and, ultimately, using other people’s online profiles as a gauge for my own experiences.

Photo Credit: 1, 2

Title Photo Credit: Unsplash.com