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Accept social media or not: What dictates your imagination when you travel?

You're standing still at one place - yet your soul wants to fly away. You're leading a simple, meaningful life - but your soul loves the adventure. How many of you relate to these thoughts? I must admit that these were all alien to me before. But I wake up each day now to find myself - the kind I always wanted to be.

Traveling is my answer. What's yours? But social media plays such a huge role in defining our tastes - be it for food or places we wish to travel. Is it even a blessing? I wonder.

That feeling of cutting through those magical layers of white - a place you can put your guards down and be fearless and dream

y. That's my kind of a place. But is it all that unknown to us? Social media continues to serve everything on a big platter. I often cannot even process this explosion of information. As I cruised above 30,000 feet, the view below blew my mind away. "Expect the unexpected" - they said, and rightfully so. But it wasn't all that unexpected - was it! Barely 15 minutes into our flight, I could see a total change of scene below. It wasn't your usual vast expanse of grasslands or areas demarcated for cattle grazing - the view was straight out of a postcard. I was heading towards Ladakh - the land of high passes. The view was overwhelming, yes, but it wasn't a big surprise - because I had seen it before. Ask me - how?

With the advent of social media in our lives and the explosion of vivid travel images and 'reels' by endless travel influencers and vloggers - there's nothing that's completely cut off from our imagination. It's not all that great a thing, I'd say. I'd rather stitch images from my imagination than landing somewhere that looked so very familiar. Thanks to the social media posts! But there's no hiding anymore. Social media dictates it all! I even knew which row of seats to choose from during my one-hour flight from Delhi to Leh to get the best view. I don't know if I should feel fortunate to have such information handy or get back to living in the age of no social media. I am not convinced with either after all these years of chasing these platforms myself.

You'd ask me to get off the social media apps to keep that freshness of a place alive. But I am just like any one of you, who's constantly craving for more information, to keep up with the latest trends and more. But I'd very much like to break this chain and travel somewhere not being fully aware of things to explore beforehand. I'd want to travel first and explore things on my own, not knowing what to look at.

If there's a tiny stall next to the hotel you're putting up selling fantastic local snacks - I want to find it myself, I want to be surprised every step of my way. I don't wish to be on a journey on someone else's terms and clearly, social media does that to our travel plans. While going through endless pages on Instagram or browsing the latest videos of your favorite travel vlogger - you cannot help but get sucked right into it. How much information is too much or too little? Who decides that?

Allow me to find my way around, allow me to find information from the locals, allow me to be the first to reach a point. I'd call myself an explorer if I am allowed to check these boxes above. For now, I am just a follower!

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