“Life is about the journey; not the destination.”
“If you didn’t post a picture, did it really happen?”
These two sayings come into direct conflict with each other. One is a way we try to live our lives, and the other a way that we often find ourselves living.
Some people do a very good job of enjoying the journey of life. Celebrity Shia LaBeouf used the social media campaign #TAKEMEANYWHERE to live in the journey and travel the United States with his friends Luke Turner and Nastja Rönkkö as well as any fans dedicated enough to find him. From May 23, 2016 to June 23, 2016, LaBeouf and his colleagues tweeted out their location and invited fans to track them down and take them anywhere. They called this month of hitchhiking the ultimate collaboration.
“It’s about trust, and also a journey. I’m more interested in the in-between state than arriving at a destination,” said Rönkkö about the campaign.
LaBeouf lived by his hashtag and really let his fans take him anywhere. He started his journey in Boulder, Colorado and spent the month traveling to places all over the country, from Alaska to Pennsylvania. He didn’t care about where he was going, he only cared about the adventures he would have. He ate at famous local restaurants, went go-carting, and made new friends all along the way.
“But hey, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey, that’s Shia’s words, not ours,” said Hank Hansen, a Brigham Young University student who picked up the group in Omaha, Nebraska.
But enjoying the journey and living in the moment can be difficult when you are caught up in the world of social media. While LaBeouf used social media as a fun way to travel and meet new people, many people use it to show off to their friends and prove that they are interesting people doing fun things.
People usually say, “If you didn’t post a picture did it actually happen?” satirically. However, Instagram often illustrates that people truly believe this sentiment. Social media often results in the constant need to do picture-worthy activities.
Social media is an amazing tool. It is especially fun and helpful while traveling. It is fun to show your friends what you are up to and share your experiences through social media. But if focusing on trying to get the perfect Instagram photo with the perfect pose is distracting you from enjoying your experiences, it may have gone too far. Enjoying the journey of life can be difficult when you are interrupting that journey with Instagram posts.
Don’t be afraid to put down the device. Turn off the camera. Enjoy the surroundings. Travel is all about learning and experiencing new things in different places.
That doesn’t mean that social media and technology aren’t fun and useful. Pictures and videos are a great way to remember your trip and relive your experiences, but be conscious of your surroundings and don’t disrupt the experience for others.
This past summer people everywhere were glued to their phones playing Pokémon Go. This app layers a digital world on top of the real world as players walk around trying to catch different Pokémon creatures. Unfortunately, players were glued to their phones at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The museum was a Pokéstop—a place where players could get free items for the game.
“Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” Andrew Hollinger, the museum’s communications director, told The Washington Post.
The museum had to ask the makers of Pokémon Go to remove its location from the app so players did not disrupt and disrespect the purpose and experience of the museum.
Although the app got people out of the house, these Pokémon Go players were too caught up with technology to enjoy the museum and took away from the experience of others.
Every major tourist site is crowded with people enjoying the view and documenting the experience. Pictures and videos are one of the best ways to remember a trip. Be careful of getting too caught up in trying to remember the experience later in life and forgetting to enjoy the experience in the moment. Don’t miss out on the present by focusing on the future.
When you can put down the device and enjoy the moment, you will be able make deeper connections with the places and people around you.
Too often tourists spend the entire trip viewing sites through a camera lens or screen. Don’t put the screen between you and your surroundings—embrace the experiences with open eyes. Look up high-quality pictures of the site on the internet at a later time. Take the time you have and enjoy the experience to the fullest.
Be a little more like Shia LaBeouf—make life about the journey. Don’t let a picture become more important than an experience.