The windows on either end of the hotel room were open, but no breeze wafted in to carry the scent of dew-dusted grass and temperate waves into the room - or at least, none that you were aware of.The sun-kissed horizon was but a pixaleted picture out of focus on your phone's screen, and somehow - the vacation was already a memory you were just re-documenting.
Many of us have been to other places, traveled to other countries. But how many of us have actually been to those places?
How many of us have actually been there in those picture perfect scenes, experiencing and living in the moment? How many of us have neglected our phones, time, to just be in something and experience it through our own eyes?
Social media has become both a promotor and a destroyer of white sand beaches and foreign cities. Why? Because it attracts people to recreate what they have already seen in their social media feeds. Social media has eradicated the ability to enjoy a new location or feeling for some people because it has already given them a preconceived idea of what that place is supposed to be; they already know what to expect when they walk the streets of Paris - they already know what the omelette du fromage, should taste like on their tongue. Social media has robbed people's ability to formulate their own expectations and emotions regarding a new destination. Their opinions are simply mirror-images of someone else's; their Instagram pictures are duplicates of other well-liked pictures.
What is worst is that some people actually even allow themselves to be discouraged from traveling. Because why should they? All they have to do is follow so-and-so or look up a hashtag to see the place they are thinking about visiting. So what is the point of traveling if one can do just that?
Well, you can opt to experience the place with our own eyes if you want. It is always satisfying to get a vacation as a reward and social media can't give you that and the actual experience of being in a new tropical island.
And if you must whip out your phone and broadcast to the internet where you are, do it smartly - and safely. Do it in a way where you aren't focused on capturing an overdone image. Instead, be original - and don't exaggerate - let the natural beauty of the location speak for itself; Paris does not need five filters to shine - just good or amplified lighting.
Don't have your phone in your hand as well - that is temptation enough to keep it on and advertising your vacation. Give your travel buddies your time. Give your adventure a touch of reality! Put the phone away.
Do not live through your screen.