As someone who is paid to write about my travels, I am aware that I’m in a very privileged position. Recently, however, I have begun to wonder whether my own approach to documenting the globe’s many highlights has lost some of its luster.
The protagonist in this malaise is a good friend whose social media fabulosity puts my meager offerings to shame. While she floods her Instagram and Facebook feeds with images of sky-high drinking dens, liquid sunsets and Champagne pool parties with babes and buff barmen in Asia’s most stirring cities and settings, my own efforts at engagement are somewhat less glamorous.
On a recent visit to Sapa in the north of Vietnam, the best I could muster was a shot of a deformed fiberglass rendition of Scooby Doo giving everyone the finger.
I “like” (but don’t actually love) nearly everything she posts, because (a) she is a friend and (b) I’m as disingenuous on social media as the next person. Pettily, I don’t appreciate her posts because they tend to gain way more traction than my pithy observations about racist toothpaste brands in Thailand and suggestive menu misspellings in India.
Most of all, though, I don’t adore them because they aren’t even particularly representative of how she feels about traveling. On a recent trip with her, to Annapurna base camp in Nepal, hours were lost as she paused for a succession of interminable photo shoots.