There is no doubt you haven't seen them taking over your social medias: those beautiful, tan human beings who are seemingly always happy and always traveling. They post pictures of their incredible vacations and perfect lives to share with their millions of followers, claiming that they are "inspiring" others to live life to the fullest. In reality, these social media moguls are posting content to exploit themselves and make enough money to actually go on their vacations.
When the average person comes across an Instagram account like Alexis Ren's or Jay Alvarrez's, they will usually end up feeling rather ashamed of themselves afterwards. They will feel like they aren't making enough money to travel like them or aren't working out enough to have bodies like them. This category of social media influencers has become extremely toxic to the public's self-worth and perception, yet it seems as though no one realizes the darker side of the travel bloggers.
Just upon looking at a travel blogger's account content, it is clear to see their supposed purpose is to inspire others to "live as if each day is your last" and "follow your passions." As important as these mottos are, the sole purpose for these accounts is to make money by showing off an unrealistic lifestyle to the working public.
On almost all of the popular travel accounts, the influencer is attempting to sell something. Whether it be tangible, such as their own products or even their cars, or just selling their image to companies for advertising money. None of these influencers could be living the way they do without manipulating their loyal followers.
For example, Jay Alvarrez has almost six million followers on Instagram. On social media, he portrays his life as always traveling and doing adventurous stunts like sky-diving and surfing. His large following and exciting content makes him a prime target for corporations like Coca-Cola to advertise his lifestyle and physique, further convincing their buyers that people like Alvarrez use their product too. Without the ad money, Alvarrez would never be able to go on the extraordinary excursions. There was even a time when Alvarrez was forced to sell his G Class Mercedes Car on his social medias, pricing it at $110,000 in cash only.
The same situation goes for the female influencers.
Alexis Ren has 12.5 million followers on Instagram and portrays herself as always living out of luxury hotels and never having a bad day. Her enviable vacations and body also make her a hot target for companies like Calvin Klein and the gaming app Final Fantasy to advertise her looks and lifestyle. Not only does she make money from big names, she has her own activewear company to gain even more revenue from her followers.
Perhaps the worst case scenario out of all of the travel bloggers' forms of income is that of Crea Tyler, a college dropout that left his studies behind to travel the world.
In no way am I shaming him for doing this — we have one life on this earth, and college is not for everyone. I will shame him for how he got the funding to live out his dream. Because of the lavish lifestyle Crea Tyler depicted on his social media, he decided to start an "internship" for some of his followers to apply. This "internship" cost $50 per month, and all it did was steal the money from its members with no reward at all. This just proves that these travel bloggers will do absolutely anything for keeping up with their payments to travel, even scamming their own followers.
If you could take one thing away from this analysis, I hope you do not feel bad about not living the lavish lives of the notorious travel bloggers. They are merely actors who create images to sell themselves for making ends meet. Chances are high that most of them came from wealthy families to start out their travels and have continued to use social media to broaden their platforms and have a solid source of income.
They portray the idea that life can always be perfect and easy, even though they have had their hard times just like you. You are right where you need to be as long as you are striving for your own personal greatness. Don't fall for their unrealistic lifestyles; it is exactly what they want.
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