Kelowna wanderer: Balancing the travelling experience and Instagram

Gina Petrovich is a Kelowna-based wanderer with a knack for adventure.

Do you ever go through the gallery in your phone and get jealous of the places it’s been? Maybe you’re leaning uncomfortably against the window on your long flight home with restless legs trying to keep occupied and distracted from the long journey ahead.

The glass of wine and mystery novel just aren’t cutting it, so out comes the documentation of your travel. Looking back on the photos and videos of the last week or two you begin to wonder if it was even real. At least for me, this is an all too familiar scenario.

I was recently thumbing through my cloud storage and let me say, I was very impressed with the places my devices have seen. I got transported back to the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea where I cruised along island hopping in southern Thailand. In some of the video clips, I could make out my ‘wows’ over the sound of the water rushing beneath the jet boat. Endless photos of dragons parading the crowded walking street in Pattaya, for the Chinese New Year and videos of elephants in sanctuaries in Northern Thailand.

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Suddenly as if I took a portal through my cloud, I was back hiking in Zion National Park, Utah. Looking through this section of media still gives me the chills – in the awe inspired sense. Dizzying videos looking down the side of the Angels Landing spine, and photos of my gloved hand grasping the guide chain the keep myself from tumbling 1,000 feet to the canyon floor.

I know exactly what I ate every day on my travels from westernized cuisine that I could eat here any time to that ‘uhhh’ moment when a rotisserie guinea pig ended up on a plate in front of me in Cuzco, Peru. I am reminded of encounters with strangers now friends as I browse through endless documentation of Hawaii, Peru, Hong Kong, Bali and more recently Jordan and Israel.

I rewatched a video a few times from my trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I watched it over and over and I almost couldn’t believe when I heard myself say “this is my first view of Machu Picchu” as one of the most magnificent wonders appeared around a corner in one of my dozens of video clips.

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How many times have I done this? I can never get that first sighting back. I got the experience secondly through my camera lens which got to capture the initial moment.

We live in a time where social media plays a huge role in our day-to-day lives. I wanted to document that instant so I could share it with everyone. In that moment impressing my 2,032 Instagram followers became a priority over experiencing that once in a lifetime wow for myself first.

I recently returned from a vacation to the Middle East where I kept this in mind. When I stepped in the Dead Sea for the first time – it was a moment shared between my feet and I. Petra? I saw the rose city through my eyes first, as well as when I entered the old gates of Jerusalem. That experience was initially mine and then captured in my camera to share and store as a memory.

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While the Middle East was very photogenic, and likely most places we travel, this really got me thinking: are we living more in the ‘post’ or the present?

READ MORE: Getting over the hump: Breaking down misconceptions of the Middle East

Gina Petrovich is a Kelowna-based wanderer with a knack for adventure. She’s now sharing her adventures with the Capital News in a bi-monthly column.

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