I have the best job in the world. I spend my days talking about travel to some of the world’s kindest travellers; I drown in beautiful images, beautiful words. And I do it for one of the biggest-hearted companies I’ve ever encountered – one that is truly changing the way people see the world.
But after years of consuming travel through the vortex of the internet, retweets and favourites, shares and #hashtags, comments, filters, chats, notifications… I’ve started to realise how disconnecting social media can be.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s incredibly important. It has re-distributed power and given a voice to the disenfranchised. It’s shone a light on unknown creatives, and brought soulmates together across oceans. It’s mobilised ground-up activism, it’s brought us #BlackLivesMatter and #LoveWins. It’s started conversations challenging social constructs that have kept the oppressed small for too long. It’s allowed us to create and communicate with a community of generous travellers across the globe. Social media has brought the world to our fingertips.
But there’s a point when you have to put the phone down. You have to stop scrolling, stop double tapping, stop mindlessly comparing your existence to the carefully curated feeds of others, stop vicariously feeding off another’s wanderlust, stop typing conversations and start speaking them.
There’s a point when you can’t share another beautiful image not taken with your own hand, of a place you’ve not yet had the opportunity to explore. There’s a point when you have to stop hashtagging your purpose… and start living it.
Through snapshots, regrams, tweets and stories, Intrepid has shown me the world. It’s swept me across the world’s continents, through centuries-old forests and into vast valleys, down rambling cobbled streets and across barren African plains. It’s thrust me into the rhythmic throb of rural festivals, and past the lunar icescapes of Earth’s fragile poles. It’s drawn me into the yurts, inkajijks, casas, ryokans and riads of smiling strangers, of local leaders, of new friends, of old souls. Intrepid has introduced me to every corner of this planet.
And now it’s time to step through the screen and say hello in person.
It’s time to see a sunset and not capture it. To summit the mountains I’ve often inspired others to climb. To inhale the heady haze of a morning market, eat breakfast and not flatlay it. It’s time to meet someone with a smile and a hug and not a favourite and smiling emoji. It’s time to get my hands dirty, my heart racing, my feet wet.
I’ve been so lucky to share the world with you, to see the late nights and early mornings of your adventures. The long train trips and gruelling hikes. But after years of ‘liking’ those moments from afar, I look forward to jumping headlong into them.
Maybe we’ll meet somewhere along the way.
I’ll be the one staring out of windows, talking to strangers, reading dog-eared books, jumping in puddles, swimming in lakes. Without a phone, without a laptop, without a tablet. Blissfully disconnected.
And probably more connected than I’ve ever been.
Peace out fellow adventurers, I’m off to #LiveIntrepid.