Is social media creating unrealistic travel goals?

iStock
iStock

Scroll.

Scroll.

Advertisement for body lotion.

Scroll.

Scroll.

Stop mid-scroll.

There it is, a shot of perfection of a traveller with a wide-brimmed hat standing with her back to the camera, somewhere tropical with the ocean touching her toes and the sunset caressing her locks and glowing on her skin. There it is, a shot of perfection edited in muted pastel hues resembling a palette of cotton candy, oozing a warm temperature with minimal contrast and a deep caption synonymous with “live the life you’ve imagined” and an added bonus, “my Lightroom presets are up for sale”.

You click on the profile and there it is, all of it.

A flawless, beautiful, cohesive and curated grid of pastel colours alternating between pink undertones and blue shades.

One shot was taken in a massive sunken bathtub (nothing short of fabulous) with gold taps and a view over a cosmopolitan city, and another was taken somewhere in Africa while on safari. There’s a mosque, a Buddhist temple, a beach, a rocky mountain, a jungle, a ‘follow me’ photo, an ice cream held up high, a sponsored watch and a breakfast-moment with scones and shiny teapots. And of course, the occasional drone shot that captured the traveller floating on a body of water.

Before you know, dreamy photos in bubblegum milkshake shades, whisk you off to worldwide destinations and luxurious locations.

Like. Comment. Follow.

Convinced.

Dream mode activated.

In your mind, behind your phone’s screen, you start yearning for a vacation, an escape to place as idyllic as the ones painted on Instafamous accounts; you build sandcastles around the luxurious hotels with alluring views, around the isolated backdrops and jetting off to unknown locations.

Like. Comment. Follow.

Convinced.

Filtered fantasies engaged and unrealistic expectations set while reality, responsibility and financial circumstances yank you back to your now.

Dislike. Sad. Miserable.

Convinced of something else.

Convinced that you won’t be able to afford a plane ticket or a luxurious hotel. Convinced that you’ll never see an alluring view or find an isolated backdrop and get to explore unknown locations.

Defeated.

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat; friends doing this, strangers doing that.

Scroll.

Scroll.

Advertisement for something.

Scroll.

Scroll.

Stop mid-scroll.

Defeated.

Frustrated.

Crushed.

So defeated by the hues of picture-perfect candy floss portraits and bubblegum milkshake landscapes that you didn’t realise that the advertisement for something –  edited in moderate tones – was in fact a guesthouse or an experience right on your doorstep. So frustrated after comparing your financial situation to a globetrotter’s curated gallery that you didn’t realise a local getaway can be just as idyllic, but more affordable. So crushed by subliminal travel goals that it becomes all or nothing; if you can’t go there, why explore here?

But yet you scroll.

Because FOMO.

Scroll, compare, click, like and dream.

Day in and day out.

We live a life of addiction in fiction-lead fantasies, scroll, scroll, scroll, disconnected from our people and our immediate environment as we scroll, scroll, scroll; as soon as we wake up, while in conversation with a friend, on the toilet, in traffic, at the dinner table and right before we go to bed.

Is social media creating unrealistic travel goals?

Are the visually stimulating curated grids of luxury influencing our dreams and forcing us to live above our means? Does the constant exposure to the rose-tinted version of paradise leave us unsatisfied with our own way of living? Is our idea of a happy content life shaped by the online portrayal of only the exciting portion of someone’s life? Are we shamed by the glamour, a specific way to look and the 8 million search results for “how to quit your job and travel the world”?

Is that perfect shot of a sunset in the Maasai Mara and a girl with a floral dress making us yearn for a trip to Africa and blocking our ability to dream of a local safari experience instead? Is that glamorous villa and infinity pool in Bali pushing us over the edge of financial woes and putting an immediate stop to our dreams without looking for more affordable options?  Is the sea of curated images making us float in an empty tub of self-worth? Is the latest fashion trend captured among the ruins of Greece subconsciously guiding us onto the path of someone else’s footsteps, someone else’s someone else’s story, someone else’s reality?

95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram per day.

Right now someone is uploading a photo.

Right now someone is getting paid to upload a photo.

Right now someone is refreshing their feed.

Scroll.

Scroll.

Scroll.

Advertisement for Castle Lite apologising to the women of South Africa for the exclusion and objectification.

Scroll.

Scroll.

Stop.

Stop living vicariously through someone else; live the life of YOUR dreams – be it Ballito or Bali - live the life YOU have imagined.

SEE: 11 Unusual travel words to inspire wanderlust... kind of

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
As a child or as an adult, have you ever been a victim of bullying?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, at school
55% - 3579 votes
Yes, at work
17% - 1128 votes
No, I've never experienced this
27% - 1780 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.25
(-0.3)
GBP/ZAR
19.85
(-0.4)
EUR/ZAR
17.15
(-0.4)
AUD/ZAR
11.05
(-0.0)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(-0.4)
Gold
1,793.01
(+0.8)
Silver
26.52
(+2.6)
Platinum
1,216.00
(+2.3)
Brent Crude
66.57
(-0.7)
Palladium
2,874.50
(+4.0)
All Share
67,146
(+0.5)
Top 40
61,399
(+0.5)
Financial 15
12,126
(-0.3)
Industrial 25
86,735
(+0.3)
Resource 10
69,254
(+1.0)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo