Travellers, whether they travel often or not, usually make it a point to post travel photos on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Most of us are guilty of this. But what do you expect in this modern era where communication technology is a hundred times better and quicker than it was decades ago? Posting such updates online isn’t just about keeping a “public” diary or journal on the Internet, it’s also about updating our friends and family with our activities. But this is also where it gets tricky. Because with all the accessible social media platforms where everyone can see what you’re doing, people then ask, “if you don’t post travel photos, did you even travel at all?”
Also read: Who Are Those Travel Photos For, Really?
Do you HAVE to post travel photos?
Let me start off by saying this: It’s absolutely ridiculous that people believe or doubt if another person’s travels are “legit” based on photos online or any photo at all.
Although posting travel photos may be considered the new norm, it isn’t a must, nor should it be perceived as such. There was a time when posting photos online was actually unheard of. I myself am a 90s kid and luckily grew up experiencing how it was like to capture photos on film, wait for them to be developed, and actually hold the physical photo in my hands. This was the time when we barely shared any kind of photo with friends unless we were required to bring developed photographs to school. I grew up in the time when we had to rely more on mental mementoes because digital cameras and photos were still making their way into this world, slowly and gradually. My point being, photos weren’t easily shareable to begin with. So why make such a big deal out of it now?
I can’t speak for others, but perhaps this is why it’s easier for me to shrug off the fact that not taking, sharing, or posting travel photos online doesn’t really determine whether one’s travels were real, legit, or complete. Today, I’m a self-professed photo junky whenever I’m travelling thanks to my smartphone and mirrorless camera. However, back then, taking and sharing travel photos was almost a hassle. That doesn’t invalidate the fact that I still travelled with my family to different places when I was a kid. That doesn’t invalidate the fact that I had an eye-opening experience exploring these destinations.
And keeping travel photos private (or not taking photos at all for that matter) shouldn’t invalidate anyone else’s travel story either.
Don’t stress about it
Don’t get me wrong, my family still took photos of our travels back then, especially when digital cameras started to emerge. We still do. So to make things clear, I’m not against taking and posting travel photos. They are essential to keep precious memories and experiences when our memory finally fails us.
But it’s also paramount to know that taking and posting photos isn’t a do or die scenario in one’s travels. It’s simply a useful habit to have.
I do understand that social media has a way of creeping up on all of us. It makes us look for affirmation in the form of likes, shares, and even comments. But these can negatively fuel the want of more and more “positive” feedback on our travel photos. If we’re not careful, this will only cloud our judgement and convince us that no travel photos is equivalent to no travel at all. Or at least, the absence of photos makes us think that maybe a person’s travels wasn’t very successful.
This should never be the case. A person who takes lots of photos on their travels and shows it on social media could easily get into travel mishaps we could never know about. Someone who prefers to keep their photos to themselves instead of sharing it online could have had the time of their lives on a holiday abroad. Although photos do reflect something of our travels, they can only say so much of the whole experience.
So, did you travel at all?
Taking photos is part of travelling only if you really want it to be. It’s not a requirement. You shouldn’t be pressured to do it. Not taking photos will have its pros and its cons; the final decision will always be up to you. But keep this in mind at all times:
Whether you want to share your travel photos or not isn’t anyone else’s business but yours. You travelled. It’s your story. Case closed.