On Sharing Travel Photos: Inspiring or Depressing?

Ever since the rise of social media, sharing photos online has gradually become a norm, and sometimes even a routine. People have made businesses and careers through their social media platforms, and these people include bloggers and photographers whose online presence depends heavily on what they share on Facebook (FB) and Instagram (IG). But of course, most of us only have social media accounts for personal use wherein we share anything we want to show our friends or followers. From what I have observed though, more and more people try to customize their IG grids with specific themes. What was once an IG grid of anything under the sun, slowly turned into an IG grid of food, fashion, and perhaps the most attractive, travel.

Sharing travel photos online was initially quite a rare thing. But now, it’s everywhere, on FB, IG, Tumblr, Pinterest and various blogs. People want to share where they’ve been and what they’ve seen, and we always want to see it too. Or do we? As much as these photos are inspiring and evoke the sense of wanderlust in us, there’s also a downside to sharing such photos. Other people get fed up, and sometimes even sad or frustrated when they see travel photos online. That’s not to say that their reaction isn’t understandable. Let’s take a look at why sharing travel photos can be both inspiring and depressing in this digital age, shall we?

Why it can be inspiring

explore, travel, on sharing travel photos: inspiring or depressing?

It encourages others to travel

When you see your friends or online connections travel, it can make you curious about the certain destination they’re in and may make you want to go there as well. It works vice versa; when you post your own travel photos, it’s bound to spark interest or awe from other people when they see that you’re enjoying your vacation and experiencing a different culture. Sometimes, aesthetically pleasing photos can even inspire us to take our own beautiful photos when it’s our turn to travel again. Not to mention, these photos can also inspire us to step out of our comfort zone and experience more of what our beautiful world has to offer.

It educates us

Sharing our travel photos is an easy way to educate others about the places we’ve been to without physically bringing them there. Instead, we bring people closer to where we have been by showing them our own captured moments. Some travellers like writing down their story in an online post with a help of a single photo from their journey, similar to a photo essay. Others will upload a whole album on FB and let the photos speak for themselves. IG users will go as far as to schedule their posts and write a short description of each photo. But I believe that it’s the bloggers who are able to perfectly tell and show their travel stories through their series of blog posts where they can write about their experience and share photos as much as they want. We may not realize it, but sharing and seeing travel photos ingrains even the smallest seed of knowledge in all of us whether we intend it or not.

It allows us to share memories

I think this is the most obvious and truthful reason. Sharing travel photos is also sharing memories, and we want our friends to witness those memories through captured moments. These photos show that travelling isn’t just about experiencing different places and cultures, it’s also about making new memories with yourself or loved ones. What better way to inspire others than to show that perhaps they too could experience such a joy? In this world of ups and downs, sometimes the bad things manage to overwhelm us and we need something to help our minds escape the negativity. Travel photos, from other people or ourselves, can always help to take us elsewhere and send our imagination flying to a different country, island, or city. We may not physically be in the place we want to be, but we can keep ourselves inspired until that day finally arrives.

Why it can be depressing

explore, travel, on sharing travel photos: inspiring or depressing?

Others can’t always afford to travel

We’ve all been there. Seeing other people’s travel photos when we simply can’t afford to go anywhere else can be downright depressing, especially when the travel bug bites us at the very same time. We need that time to save for our next trip or save for something else entirely, and yet seeing all the travel photos of our friends can get us more and more impatient and even jealous. Instead of being happy for our friends, we wish it could have been us that was that lucky to travel instead. This is more problematic nowadays because people have gotten on board the wanderlust craze and never fail to post at least one photo of their travels in their social media accounts. We’re left with no choice but to deal with it (unless you would rather temporarily block or unfollow).

It reminds us of what we’re missing out on

“E di siya na yung nakarating sa *insert destination here*.”  Sounds familiar? This was probably you at one point in your life, just like the rest of us. We already know what we ourselves have and have not experienced. Do we really need people to constantly remind us about the places we haven’t been to yet? Sometimes, it’s not even the budget that’s the problem. It’s also the time and energy that we can’t spare. Maybe we just needed to stay at home for personal reasons, maybe there’s just too much to do at work, or maybe we can’t afford the time to stay on top of visa applications. When you don’t have enough resources to spare, seeing people share travel photos when you also wanted to fly elsewhere can make you feel left out and regretful. We know, it sucks.

Timing of photo posts is off

I think most of us have had that experience where we see people posting travel or wanderlust photos on social media at times when it was perhaps inappropriate. Like for example, my personal experience of this was at a time of breaking news and national concern that sparked outrage and divide among the people. I had a specific friend on FB that kept on bombarding her feed with travel photos of her in Korea when everyone else in the Philippines was expressing alarm, anger, or sadness towards the current national situation. It was very disappointing to see that person ignore what was happening in the country and act as if everything was fine.

Sharing travel photos isn’t bad, but people have to take the times into consideration and be conscious of what they’re posting because they might come off as insensitive and ignorant. This is only one big example. Of course, there are circumstances of a much smaller scale where we see people sharing travel photos online at a bad time in our personal lives. When the timing is off, we get turned off too.

The verdict

explore, travel, on sharing travel photos: inspiring or depressing?

I don’t think that sharing travel photos on social media should be seen in a negative light. Whether or not you can easily afford it, travel should be seen as a luxury or privilege. If people want to share their journey and experiences through photographs, we should let them and learn to appreciate what is shared. There’s always more places, things, and people to encounter in this big world, and seeing them through the eyes of others is another way of enriching our perspectives and inspiring us to discover the world for ourselves. Remember that pictures also tell a story, and travel photos are meant to do just that, tell inspiring and positive stories. We have to let people tell their stories, as we would want them to let us tell ours.

Having said that, we also need to uphold a sense of awareness as to what and when we should share our travel photos. Perhaps the next time we plan on sharing photos, we should be more considerate and ask ourselves if it’s the right time to post such photos. It doesn’t take too much to be aware of our surroundings to know if posting happy and escapist travel photos would be appropriate. Then, look at your own feed or grid and see if you really need to post more than one of, more or less, the same kind of photo. Take your time in choosing the photos that you share on IG. Flooding everyone’s feed with every photo that you have of the same place may be too much. Maybe making an album on FB would be better. Plan things out, schedule your posts if you must. Trust me, practising this sense of responsibility on social media will make a positive difference to you, and to your friends and followers.

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