Folium: Has Travel Become Another Exercise in Narcissism via Medium
- excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.
- extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.
Think about a time last summer where you remember checking Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/etc. (given that you have at least one…) and think of a time when it seemed as though all of your friends were out traveling the world because of the numerous posts – every minute of every day. Then consider this… would you still like those friends if you knew they were narcissistic?
“Travel yourself interesting,” Great tagline, terrible idea… – Wismayer/Medium
Henry Wismayer’s article, “Has Travel Become Another Exercise in Narcissism?” has raised some eyebrows in the way he has changed the notion of those who post those fun summer vacation photos. Let’s think back a few years, although you may not have been around in the fifties and sixties, you probably have grandparents who were. You can ask them how many times they took a big vacation and traveled the world, they will probably tell you (maybe) once and it was “wonderful.” That wasn’t such a commodity to those of the “baby boomer” era. When we travel, whether it is to the bank or to the grocery store, we are always documenting what we are doing, where we are going, what we are eating, etc. This practice has no face value whatsoever.
“Suddenly, he is Marco Polo returning from the court of Kublai Khan. He must write a blog, post endless photos on social media. Everyone must benefit from his remarkable new wisdom!”– Wismayer/Medium
Wismayer’s point is interesting, saying that as we travel the experiences we have while walking the streets of Vienna should not need to be “Facebook verified” by those who are constantly looking for updates of others doing things they think they want to be doing. Travel shouldn’t be corrupted or interrupted by the constant dinging of your phone from notifications. This diminishes the sole purpose of travel. You don’t even take yourself out of any place, instead you are just physically moving your body to a different part of the world and your brain is still focused on you, and your phone. Posting that you visited the Eiffel Tower does not make you an expert on French architecture.
“Just realize: if your traveling is a box-ticking exercise; if you predicate even one iota of self-worth on how many countries you’ve visited; if you think in bucket-lists inspired by clickbait ‘10 best’ listicles appealing to the lowest common denominator, … traveling isn’t making you interesting. It’s just confirming your position as one of the crowd.” – Wismayer/Medium
I know I have been guilty of this personally. But I haven’t thought about it this way before…
Travel is something so sensitive, and when we don’t put ourselves in situations where we are able to feel the things we should feel while out learning about the world, without distractions, we are able to learn so much more. We need to learn that sharing that photo of you riding an elephant isn’t going to help me more than it is helping you. I look back and think of every time I posted on social media, and the kind of response I was looking for after posting those pictures. Everything was about me receiving something in return while ignoring the one thing that I can get gratification from. Travel can give back as much as you put in. Only if we are able to shut ourselves out from the social media world, and focus in on the tropical rainforests in Bolivia, we can find deeper understanding and peace that comes from true understanding of a new country and culture.
LEAF Editor & Contributor
(ed. Video is not from the MEDIUM article, but related nonetheless…)