Recently, I’ve been noticing a lot more social commentary via social media outlets on the ideals of millennials, traveling and wanderlust. There are a couple different ideas floating around the internet recently, and it’s made me both agree and contemplate how I fit into this all with my personal views.
Somewhere in Oregon near Crater Lake National Park
Let’s start with a good laugh– Socality Barbie. I love it! Essentially, it’s a photographer in the Pacific Northwest posing [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][hipster] Barbie and her friends in the most ridiculous places in nature and abusing #hashtags in the worst ways. The best part of this? There are so many people out there now that do exactly that, and some of them are my friends. (Sorry guys!) Some of the offenses, I am guilty of myself! In my defense, I’ve been taking pictures since I was old enough to hold a camera and my parents have encouraged me to enjoy nature and adventures from a young age– so none of this is a novel concept for me. In fact, since I could drive I have been adventuring within my city and beyond with my friends. I really enjoy being a tourist in my own city. But I’ll save that for another post.
I just “happened” to bring all my coffee gear on this hike. Might as well make a cup on this mountain top like any normal person would do. #vsco #vscocam #socality #liveauthentic #livefolk #kinfolk #visualcoop #getoutside #letsgosomewhere #neverstopexploring #exploreeverthing #explore #adventure #lifeofadventure #pnw #pacificnorthwest #thatpnwlife #northwestisbest #thegreatpnw #greatnorthcollective #socalityportland #pdx #oregon #upperleftusa #peoplescreatives #wildernessculture #instagoodmyphoto #herpnwlife
Social media in itself is an interesting beast. I see it as a positive in so many ways, but at the same time it’s reduced our culture to a social-media-technology-obsessed beast in many ways. Its become a necessary evil for many fields. Do you want your event, product or new product to be successful? To reach the 18-25 age group, you better create a presence on the major social media outlets. When I was promoting my 5K in Gainesville, I utilized Facebook as a major source of traffic to my site and it was successful. See, a necessary evil. #unavoidable
Because of my age, I can hardly remember a time in my teenage to adult life that social media didn’t exist. But even within the past 5-7 years, it has evolved so much. Myspace has come and gone, Facebook has morphed from simple profiles to a news outlet, photo galleries, business information, and so much more. My own mother even took a college course entirely on social media! But I digress.
How about the social media and wanderlust/travel trend?…
My friend Demi at the Grand Canyon in November 2014. She was in awe of the whole experience.
Why is it that my generation is so obsessed with travel and ditching the 9-5 lifestyle? This article that I read the other day comments on this. Since moving to Utah, I’ve had more opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy hiking and breath-taking vistas. I post photos that I take on my personal Facebook page for my friends and family back home in Florida to see. My friends that know me well know that I will do anything for a picture. (Of course, with some limitations). But this has been true since before the time of social media– since before Myspace. I even studied recreation, parks and tourism in college! I’m not falling onto a bandwagon.
Rocky Mountain National Park – November 2014
So why do I feel guilty all of the sudden for wanting to travel and explore the world when I am young? It’s because apparently I am not unique in this ideal anymore. The article I referenced talks about how the millennial generation is the first to really reap the benefits of the wealth that the baby boomer generation created. I think that this may play a role in this sudden wanderlust craze on social media, but maybe it’s also the first time that we’ve had the opportunity to instantly share what we are doing in that moment. We also have been shown that we can be anyone that we want to be in this world, and our main source of income does require us to slave away at a 9-5 office job– that is, if that doesn’t appeal to us. I believe that it’s encouraging to see my generation trying new ideals as careers, creating new services that people across the world can use, to make the world a little smaller every day as we connect more people near and far…
Capitol Reef National Park – March 2014
But unfortunately, we apparently all want the same thing according to how we present ourselves online and in person: freedom to roam, travel, and not have to worry about fitting into a mold. I think for some people, traveling without responsibility and accountability appeals. Others find a whole new version of themselves. I think all of this is fantastic! I love traveling too. I love sharing experiences with people. I encourage everyone to travel, it really shows people that there’s more in this world and within themselves. What I dislike is that people have turned this into cliché.
San Diego Sunset
I suppose that what it comes down to is that people are in it for the evidence that they can post on their Instagram profiles that they’ve been to a laundry list of places versus going and enjoying an experience in a new, unfamiliar place. Yes, my friends will tell you I’ll do things for a picture– but really, it’s the experience I’m in it for. When I was young, my Christmas list to Santa was categorized into “Experiences” and “Items.” I want to experience as much as I can. I know that’s why I am an adventurer and wanderluster. (Did I just make a new word?) Travel keeps life interesting, and it keeps you as a person interesting because you’re constantly opening yourself up to new cultures, scenery, people, ideals, etc. If I didn’t have this desire and sense of adventure, I never would’ve moved to a unfamiliar city, across the country away from all my friends and family. I never would’ve been able to travel to over 12 national parks in the past year and a half. I never would’ve met my future husband.
Brighton and I at Crater Lake National Park shortly after we got engaged this February (2015)
And so, in the way that Facebook blew up seemingly overnight, so has the travel industry! For better or for worse, the travel industry is changing with the times and it’s time to embrace it. I know the reasons why I love traveling and adventuring. Do you, my fellow readers?
TL;DR — The time for trying new things is the past, present and future! Let’s embrace the true spirit of travel!
Why do you travel? Are you a declared adventurer? Do you have a serious case of wanderlust like me?