It’s the epitome of 21st Century problems: to Instagram or not? We’re standing atop a 5,000-foot peak, the sun is shining on mountain ridges in all directions, and we can’t hear a thing save for the wind. I shudder as I find myself thinking, “This would be a great Instagram shot.” I too have fallen victim to the curse of the modern era.
We’re in the age where self-worth is dealt in the currency of double-taps. We overzealously refresh our feeds, slowly inflating our fragile egos. We consider deleting a photo with poor performance—trash any evidence that we were once under-loved. I’ll reluctantly admit I’m not entirely immune.
So when we decided to take off on this trip, we seriously debated whether publicly documenting our adventure would take away from the experience of it, whether we were simply feeding the beast that is the Internet, willingly entering into the abusive, one-sided relationship that is social media.
We feel the contradiction: on one hand, we want to disconnect from it all and just experience all the amazingness of nature. But on there other, we’re seeing and feeling so many great things that we want our friends and family to see, too. Over the last year, we’ve loved following other #vanlifers that we’ve discovered online who’ve blogged and Instagramed their trips. So we too wanted to share our adventure with curious and like-minded souls.
Now on our trip, we've asked ourselves existential questions like: What’s the point of all these comments and Likes and Favorites we’ve collected? In our collective race to out-document each other, are we really even enjoying anything, or are we all merely busy curating hyperbolic digital versions of ourselves?
In truth, this trip would more enjoyable if we truly unplugged, if all our experiences were simply logged as great memories shared between the two of us. But our hope is that by documenting our adventure both in pictures and words, we’re not only providing our family/friends a vicarious adventure, but also creating digital documentation of all the great things our fickle brains are not able to retain.
(Kudos to you if you have no idea what I’m talking about, and none of this has crossed your mind. Keep being pure, and never cross over to the dark side.)