|Historically, travel has been a private experience. Photo by Charish Badzinski.|
Not long ago, travel was a private experience. Someone who joined the Peace Corps would depart for foreign soils knowing they would only hear from family occasionally, only after a carefully-penned letter crossed whatever pond, made it through whatever undependable postal system, and landed miraculously at their hut. Someone who set out to walk the Camino de Santiago was unheard of for days. Climbing a mountain? Friends never knew whether or when you reached the summit, until you were home, sharing stories over a granola bar.
|Even when you think you’re alone, someone could be taking your photo
and posting it publicly. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
Once upon a time the daily trials of travel were yours alone. No one at home knew when your passport was stolen or when you were delayed at the airport. No one suspected how your paradigms were shifting, the tectonic plates of your being crashing into one another, transforming you. No one knew you had pan au chocolat and espresso for breakfast.
|Social engagement can help you find the best places to eat when you travel.
Photo by Charish Badzinski.
Much of this information we share willingly. Most of us probably don’t think about the larger implications.
Yet, when it comes to social media, it’s important to remember that we aren’t merely a client; we’re the product. Social media makes its profit by using information about you, and they want as much of it as possible. That means when the people you meet along the way post photos, everyone can see those shots of you flirting with cute boys at the hot springs. Or posing jokingly on the Mayan ruins. Or terrified, about to bungee jump. And everyone can see and weigh in on your experience. Not tagged? Doesn’t matter. Particularly with the facial recognition tech that is emerging, what could once be kept hidden in relative obscurity is now available online for anyone who knows how to search for it: relatives, clients, employers and dating prospects.
|I once ate this: grilled cheese on rye with bacon. Now everyone knows.
Photo by Charish Badzinski.
Many travelers have embraced the age of travel transparency. But for those who have not, what can be done to preserve the purity of travel? If we are never truly alone or alone with our travel companions, can we really call it “getting away from it all?”
It is unavoidable that we will experience travel in ways that some might find offensive or perceive to tarnish our personal brand. Perhaps they disagree politically, socially or morally. Often a poorly-timed photo can be misconstrued, particularly where professional and personal “friend lists” collide.
|When it comes to social media, perspective and perception matter, and could have implications
for your personal and professional reputations. Photo by Charish Badzinski.
Most importantly, at what cost have we embraced this connectivity? Are we forced to stand back when we might otherwise leap in?
Along the way to being totally connected, have we lost the opportunity to process new experiences and formulate original ideas?
Do you embrace or reject travel transparency? What measures do you take to protect your privacy?
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