Personal: Has The Blogosphere Ruined Travel?

I’ve had the same conversation with multiple bloggers in the same week (Dany & Tim) and it made me realize it’s something I’ve been thinking about myself . Being an “influencer” or a “blogger” was once just normal people living their lives and talking about it on the internet. I started this blog when I was broke, paying my rent via Etsy and snapping outfit photos on a tripod in my street, and I think a lot of other bloggers have a similar story. Somewhere along the way there was a shift to these normal people suddenly traveling non-stop, taking pictures in epic locations and seemingly doing all of the same things on all of their own individual trips.

 

The big question mark in my mind is – What is more interesting – normal people sharing the nuances of everyday life that everyone can relate to, or extravagant people who travel and live lives of luxury non-stop?

 

I honestly don’t know the answer, which is why I wanted to write this post and open up the discussion. To me, these instagram accounts have sort of tainted traveling. They have created this idea that there’s a BEST way to see the world – eating staged food in perfect photo op spots, visiting all of the same locations and just generally white washing the travel experience, which is supposed to be unique and individual. I realized very quickly into our summer travels that I did not want my account to become similar to that. During our travels, we tried to visit places off-the-beaten path, and I tried to keep my feed consistent to the way it is when I am back home. Sure, we occasionally stopped in touristy places like Tivoli, but we tried to keep every photo personal, and we tried to experience things that maybe aren’t trendy according to the gram (like wearing a life jacket and whale watching).  I enjoy following certain accounts because I like the person behind the account, and that person usually has a story far more in depth than just perfect photos in beautiful locations. I like a little bit of imperfection, and because of that I don’t go out of my way to shoot at odd times to get a perfect shot. Because life isn’t perfect!

 

Curating a feed is not a bad thing, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t do it. But when that curation begins to extend from what we wear, to how we decorate and trickle all the way down to the places we choose to see around the world, that’s where my line is drawn. We are all human, but we are also all so vastly different, and that should reflect in the way we choose to share our travel experiences!

 

What do you guys think about this new trend? What draws you to the accounts that you choose to follow?

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6 comments so far.
  • Everyday life is wayyy more interesting to watch. I’ll watch a “day in the life” vlog before I watch a “travel vlog,” and it’s like the people making this content just… don’t… get it. I always hear things like “well i haven’t updated because I haven’t really been going anywhere or doing anything…” That’s when life actually happens! And honestly, the “not doing anything” moments are the most interesting ones.

    People watching/reading your content really want stuff they can relate to, and these over-the-top trips, back to back to back, are not relatable for regular ol’ non-sponsored people.

    Great post!
    Xx http://www.TheActiveSpirit.com

  • Hmmmm…. This is such an interesting observation and I wonder if that is what has been bothering me about travel posts with bloggers…. I do know that I have taken to avoiding a lot of travel posts (it even took me a really long to time to read yours from the summer, though you went to places that are less commonly blogged about. I ended up enjoying them, partly because you talked about how to travel with an infant, which is a part of your everyday life.) What really bugs me about a lot of travel posts or “city guides” is…. they make every place all feel the same. They always have a “Stay here (cute hotel that is often pricey)” and “Eat Here” and “Shop Here”. Which, everyone needs a place to stay and food is a big part of travel, and I like to shop alright but…. it feels like it misses a huge portion of why I like to travel. Cute shops are great, but they begin to blur together when you haven’t been to them in person. (was that cute stationery store in Paris or London? It could have been anywhere). I like to do things and know about the culture and history of a place. I like to interact with locals. All these posts are often very sparse in talking about that sort of thing. Granted, it is hard to get a real feel for a culture in only a day or two, but did the traveler really not talk to anyone?

    Also in thinking about your comment that travel is individualized-that is so true and honestly, what is missing in many travel posts. I get that many of the blog writers may love to shop and to eat or go bar hopping, but I find myself wondering if that is all they do? One thing I noticed when traveling with a colleague was that she said her family never really went to art museums when traveling (mine always did, so I always do), but her family did go to a lot of historic sites (which I hadn’t done as often). We each picked a place and got to experience a new side of the city we visited that might have otherwise been overlooked. It was fun! I wish more travel posts covered things like that whether it is a walking tour, an Improv club or sporting event, or taking a cooking class or…. whatever it is. That’s why I enjoyed hearing about you seeing African animals. That may or may not be things one’s readers would do normally, but that’s part of the fun. Same with the helicopter post. A lot of travel bloggers seem to be worried about being too “touristy.” While it isn’t fun to be in over-crowded places…. you *are* a tourist anywhere you go except your home. It can be okay to go see the big sites sometimes too. The places are a draw for a reason, usually.

  • This a really interesting discussion topic. I also find that if I take photos for my blog when I’m on holiday, I can get caught up in trying to get good photos rather than just enjoying the moments.

  • I totally think every-day life is more interesting than fancy travel life! To be honest I usually just skip reading blog posts about travels, unless it’s about a destination I myself have planned to go to, in the near future. Everyday life – posts though, that’s were I can get real inspired and feel like I get to know the blogger.

  • Caroline

    This is ironic because I don’t think you bloggers are normal people sharing their lives, normal people is those who goes to offices or have Etsy shops like me! Normal people don’t go to three international trips in the summer, just one or none. About that ig pefect travel accounts, well they are beyond you about reality, but you are not too close to general reality, living quite well from sharing beautiful outfits, beauty products or styling home, that’s not reality for the general people.

  • Caitlin

    I read something very interesting once about the concept of “aspirational” vs. “inspirational”… and it was explained basically as “aspirational” being beautiful/luxurious/unreachable, and “inspirational” as more attainable/relatable/applicable to your daily life. In celebrity terms, it might be Beyonce or Madonna vs. Emma Stone or Kristen Bell? Aspirational = I want this to be my life vs. inspirational = these images inspire me to apply something to my life.

    I’d say it’s also a concept better applied to fashion blogging… like, let’s say you’re wearing all luxury brands… you could just post the beautiful images from the shoot and everyone drools over them, or you could add “Here’s how you can get my look for less!” and links to under $100 options. Just two different approaches to blogging, I guess. There is definitely a market for aspirational bloggers too – it depends on how different people consume media. The aspirational for some can be inspirational to the right market.

    So… a Gram-perfect luxurious vacation might be something us everyday folk would love to do, but it’s just not practical. A perfectly staged meal at a very expensive hotel, while gorgeous, isn’t going to “inspire” me to visit a location, you know? Since I know I couldn’t possibly replicate that experience if I went. Maybe that’s a very literal way of looking at things, but those are just my feelings.