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How Instagram has made Travelling “Basic”

And why we shouldn’t care

 “Basic” a word that seems to have developed some sort of new meaning over the last couple of years. Basic usually means, “forming an essential foundation or starting point,” thank you Google, but now seems to hold another meaning… “only interested in things mainstream, popular, or trending,” thank you Urban Dictionary, but how come this new meaning of basic has refined such a negative stigma?

Nowadays, nearly anyone who goes to a new state or country becomes a travel blogger, including myself. Instagram has taken off with social media “influencers” who seem to be able to travel to about 700 different places a year and never explain to anyone how they can afford it. On the contrary, the realization that there are people out there who can afford it, gives followers a small sense of hope that they, too, can lead their own popular travelling pages one day. Then you have travelers, again, including myself, who have studied abroad and gone on a few vacations, posting some pictures and writing some blogs, but don’t get much recognition for it. Is it wrong to pose for an artsy picture of yourself looking out over the Mediterranean Sea if you don’t have 8,000+ followers? Is it just “basic?”

As a person who loves their north face jackets and is an ex-Ugg lover, I have had my fair share of “basic” accusations. Not to mention the anchor I have tattooed over my rib cage, that one definitely put the “basic” icing on the cake, but I pride myself in the experiences I have had while travelling and enjoy being able to share them online. Travelling has always been the “thing to do,” but now that everyone can see where you are going and what you are doing, it has become common and less interesting to hear about. People capture the perfect image of themselves hiking a mountain or jumping into a lake that so many others are going to reenact. So when do you stop and differentiate between genuinely enjoying yourself and trying to become a trendsetter? If it makes you happy to get that perfect picture and post it for others to see, do it, just avoid making it all about that. It’s a little hard to set a trend if the trend is already set…so you need to focus on what you love about sharing your experiences and not so much about how many travel-influenced pages are going to follow you back. If you thrive off of being “basic,” then show it off, because in the end, there is going to be more to it than just a “basic” picture on a virtual profile, you are going to have some sort of memory behind that post.

If you are someone who gets a little too wrapped up in your Instagram and becoming that “trendsetter” I was talking about before, it may actually take away from your overall experience. Travelling has been something people can go do for some peace and to find themselves. Sometimes it is good to recharge and let go of the stress life can inflict on your well being. If you are analyzing   what you look like in every one of your photos, you’re allowing something else to take over your “you” time. My favorite thing to do when I go somewhere new is to pick some pictures that I look really happy in. For me, when I look happy, I usually resemble a little girl on her first day of kindergarten, but I am okay with that. In those moments, I remember how great I felt and that’s why there’s a huge smile stretched across my face. In pictures where I turn my back or try to look like a model, I don’t remember much about what I was feeling on the inside, but that’s my own personal opinion.

In order to get other’s opinions on the topic, I asked some of my friends and family what Instagram means to them while they are travelling:

“…it’s like all your favorite memories can fit in the palm of your hand, but they can simultaneously be shared with friends and family around the world.”

“[Instagram] was my visual journal of where and when I went to new places and with who.”

“[Instagram] was a way to share experiences with our friends and family back home, as well as, gain inspiration from the new people we met along the way.”

“Instagram is great to document your photos, but I try to not obsess over it. I want to see the bigger picture and not just what is on my phone screen.”

So when did travelling become “basic?” Has it always been “basic?” And what’s so bad about being “basic?” Travelling has always been “basic”, yes. Even without social media, travelling was cool, it was something people wanted to do, especially when they heard of others doing it. Difference is that now, this craving for adventure is emphasized because of social media and people sharing their experiences over the web. As for what’s so bad about being “basic…” I really can’t answer that for you. You have to focus on what makes your trip worthwhile. If it’s trying a few times for the perfect shot, then so be it, but if it’s not, then change it. Use your social media to log your memories, feelings, and yes, use it to make other people jealous, but don’t allow yourself to take away from the beauty of getting to travel.

Travelling is the best learning experience you can have. Whether it is becoming more educated on another culture or getting to know yourself, travelling can completely change your life, so allow it to. Go out there, gush over some photos, reminisce about old times, make yourself feel good. Whether it’s being “basic” or trying your hardest not to be, whatever, just enjoy it. 

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