The self(ie) obsession…

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Selfie obsessed? Taking a selfie at Iguazu Falls

Post written by Laura

As you might expect all of the major tourist spots we visited in 2016 were swarming with crowds, people milling around and shoulder to shoulder as they jostle for the best spot. And this is usually for good reason… we, as everyone else wanted to experience spectacular and impressive sights such as Iguazu Falls or Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu.

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If you plan your visit for either early morning or late afternoon you can sometimes miss some of the crowds. This didn’t exactly happen during our early afternoon visit to the Grand Palace in Bangkok (above)! This place would be quite incredible if you could actually see it and experience it without bumping into literally thousands of people! Doing whatever you can to avoid busy times is definitely to be recommended for anyone planning a visit there!

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Busy busy busy

We visited Rio’s Christ the Redeemer while the great statue was buried in the midst of a cloud (thus totally obscuring the famous Rio view) yet it was still jam packed with tourists.

During our 2016 travels we encountered selfie sticks galore…

Generally we are not big ‘selfie’ tourists, preferring to focus on the location rather than ourselves. On a typical day we might take one or two selfies, maybe a couple of shots with one of us in the picture (for some perspective) and around 100 photos of the location. After all, we didn’t want to look back on the entire trip and have no pictures of us. Also, rather than bothering a fellow tourist and asking them to take a photo of us, we did find our selfie stick handy for occasional independent photo taking!

However many people seem totally obsessed with taking selfies, as they scour the attraction seeking the optimum spot to conduct their own personal mini photoshoots. Men and women alike strut and pout in numerous poses, tossing back their hair, sucking in their cheeks and gazing seductively at their mobile camera. Me, me, me… and oh, and this thing called… umm… oh yes,  Machu Picchu which just happens to be in the background… 

Encountering several near misses of being poked in the eye by unrestrained selfie sticks Chris and I often discussed the psychology behind selfies and the need for people to have so many photos of themselves in front of everything. Constantly. Now we are back at home and still thinking “all things travel” I felt curious about the selfie trend so I’ve been doing some research and it turns out that it isn’t just us who have questioned the age of the selfie…

I’ve uncovered a mass of selfie related Internet content… some articles suggest that selfie overload could wreck your relationship; people who take gym selfies have psychological problems and general selfie takers are insecure.

People even put themselves in great danger with their selfie sticks… Lake Tahoe has now banned the use of selfie sticks as (quite incredibly) people have turned their backs on a bear in order to take a selfie with said animal in the background!!

Death by selfie…

And yes, people have actually died in this dangerously growing trend of risky selfies. BBC newsbeat described how 127 people have died since 2014 as they seek the ultimate Instagram show-off pic, often taken from a great height or from the edge of a dramatic cliff.

Like Lake Tahoe many other attractions have banned selfie sticks including Disney theme parks and several New York museums. CanIbringmyselfiestick.com has a full list of yes and no attractions!

On a less extreme note one of the most disrespectful examples of self(ie) obsession we encountered was a couple taking a whole series of shots of themselves with Kanchanaburi’s 7,000 Prisoner of War graves as the backdrop behind them… While Chris and I felt sombre and moved by the unimaginable hardships of Thailand’s ‘Death Railway’ this couple had zero interest in their surroundings… it was all about them and how good they looked as they created a range of poses amongst the graves… The Guardian has an interesting and related article called ‘Selfie sticks should be banned for massaging our self-obsession‘.

As discussed above crowds of tourists are never a good thing but we found that dodging masses of selfie sticks can get quite irritating. Of course, I have no problem with people taking the odd picture of themselves to capture a special moment for future posterity or to show off to the folks back at home but… and sorry to drone on… this will be the next up-an-coming thing… you won’t be able to capture a flawless view without drone selfie cameras buzzing about in the way… oh dear…

Beware ye selfie stick…

 

What are your views on the self(ie) obsession? Is this trend ruining travel? Or is it harmless fun? Do you find them annoying or am I just a grumpy old spoil-sport?

 

 

 

2 comments

  1. I don’t typically take selfies, but I don’t mind people doing it. For us we take selfies as evidence of us being there rather about photographing our faces. We once bought a selfie stick. We gave it away soon after because it wasn’t our style of taking photographs. I actually was embarrassed just by using it. It could see it being useful as a tool for taking photographs from a different angles without having to crawl on my belly or group pictures. But to take selfies with? I’ll have to pass.

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    1. Hi Keng, thank you for your comments. I agree its good to have some photographs to show you have visited a place and that using a selfie stick can be a little embarrassing! I’ve enjoyed reading about your life on the road in an RV… that must give you an amazing sense of freedom!

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