I hate looking at travel photos. I find it really, really boring. Maybe it’s because the only place I’ve been to on holidays is Bali. Maybe because I want my holidays to be relaxing rather than filled with stuff to do. Maybe it’s because I’m not a photo person. Maybe it’s something else entirely but truth be told, I really hate having to sit through photo after photo of the same thing – the only difference being that there was a slight breeze in those two and the camera was slightly higher for those four and that person who went to Europe a month before you has the exact same photos but yours are fuzzy.
I know this is my thing to deal with and mostly I do. If someone posts a thousands photos in an album of their trip on facebook I won’t say a word. I’ll simply keep scrolling past and look at something that interests me. If they continuously post status updates I’ll hide them for a while (I don’t just do this with travel photos – I do this with anyone I feel clogs my feed with too much stuff I’m not interested in).
What I really hate though is when I’m in person and someone asks me if I want to see their photos.
I hate social norms sometimes.
Why is it considered rude to answer that question with ”no thank you”? I mean it’s a closed question so it automatically implies a choice. I’m being polite whilst declining yet people are still taken aback by this. I asked the people in my office why it’s considered rude and not a single one of them could give me a decent enough reason. I say no to lots of things I’m not interested in. When people ask if I want to go to a bar I say no thank you. When they ask if I want to go to a movie I say no thank you. When they ask if I want a piece of cake I say no thank you. And no one gets offended. So why is this so different?
It’s become desirable to travel and be well travelled. It’s become the ideal over the last few years. It gives off the impression that you’re cultured and free and independent and spirited and adventurous and so many other adjectives. But does it really equate to that? And if it does, surely me saying no to looking at your photos doesn’t take away from that because if it does, what does that say about you?
Don’t get me wrong – I love that people love travelling. I love that for some it’s their passion and their sole reason for being. I love that they want to explore and immerse themselves in something that is so different to what they are used to. I love that they want to learn, to push their boundaries but to be honest, I don’t get that from looking at the same touristy photos I see again and again.
Kissing under the Eiffel Tower?
Christ the Redeemer?
The Hollywood sign?
Yoga in Indonesia or India?
The wings of the plane midair?
Spaghetti in Italy?
You’ve seen them once you’ve seen them all.
So keep this in mind – if you love travelling, that’s great. If you love taking photos, even better. But if someone around you isn’t that interested don’t force them to be. Gauge your audience because it’s arrogant to think that everyone around you wants every detail of your trip. Especially now that travel is so accessible to many of us living in Western countries. And if people do want to see your photos, please for the love of whatever is out there, edit! If you have 1000 photos pick your favourite 20 or even 50 if you have to. And if someone says ‘no thank you’ to your request to look at photos, accept it and move on.
What is something that you can’t stand doing but feel forced to because its a social norm?