Life & Stuff

Why I think ‘selfies’ and selfie-sticks are ruining the travel experience

It’s not even just about the annoying tourists jamming that selfie stick in your face, when you are trying to peak through the already crowded area to get a glimpse of the <<insert popular attraction here>>.

I genuinely think that selfies and selfie sticks will ruin you travel experience.

Oh that selfie....
Oh that selfie….

About the Selfie

I think the Russians are onto something here.

A new Selfie-Addiction Helpline was established in July to assist people in Moscow who have uncontrolled urge to pose for selfies.

The fact that the helpline has been set up by the Moscow Scientific Practical Center for Drug Addiction is an indication of how serious this issue has been to the security of the Russian people. The move to create such assistance to selfie addition sufferers was made on the back of several reported deaths in Moscow of people posting for selfies in potentially life threatening situations.

Such as taking a selfie while pointing a gun at one’s self; or posing for a selfie in front of dangerous wild animals about to launch an attack at the selfie taker; or maybe a selfie with the Kremlin guards who has just shouted “if you take that selfie, I’ll shoot!”

For once, I am agreeing with the Russians. Before the invention of ‘smart’ phones and tablet PCs with front end cameras, I’ve seldom encountered such fervent effort to take a selfie by anybody anywhere.

1. a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.


Incredibly, ‘Selfie’ has made itself into the Oxford Dictionary in such a short time of its existence is a phenomenon too great to ignore.

A troll through my Facebook feed all I see are selfies. Selfies with friends, family, dogs, cats, tractor, Labour Day sales crowd, a homeless person, a busker; sometimes, these selfies does, like the Russians insist, seem like a risky business, for some are accompanied by images of an approaching cyclist, bus, a running tractor, a frenzied horse or the angry face of an in-law.

It makes me wonder, what is it that make us want to stop and pose for a selfie? The idea of a selfie to me simply does not make sense.

We take photographs in an attempt to keep a particularly memory alive. I have photographs of high school friends, birthday parties, with colleagues on our last day of work, as well as images of eating pasta in Rome, drinking Steins of beer at the Oktoberfest in Germany and making a fool of myself in front of the Queen’s guards at the Buckingham Palace.

Photographs are taken so that I can look back and remember the people and the things that were around me, and a tool to tell the story of an experience.

However, the need to constantly taking photographs of ourselves, aka taking Selfies, baffles me. I look at myself in the mirror every day, it’s not like I don’t know what I actually look like, and the average selfie only has enough space to fit in the face of the person, it isn’t always clear just exactly why the selfie was taken at all.

I mean, take one. One that you can share on social media, one that simply shows you’ve been there, but not every single freak’in photo needs to be a selfie!

And Then came The Selfie Stick

What’s made it worse was the invention of the selfie stick. It’s all about taking a better selfie, with a higher and better angle, to be able to reach photographic areas that was never before possible by the extension of our own arms.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0) | Credit to: Schill
Image source: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0) | Credit to: Schill

And then, add selfishness of human nature, that gives people the urge to stick that ‘Stick’ right in your face, or getting in the way of a filming session of Downton Abbey, and a selfie stick was the reason a Disney roller coaster got stuck earlier this year.

However, my major concern (getting back to the travel experience) with selfie sticks, is that people no longer ‘feel’ their experience, and rely on a bit of arm extension to capture the moment for them.

Do you not realise that actually takes away the true experience you can see with your own eyes?

While you are concentrating on the angle, the screen and the extension of the ‘Stick’, you are possibly missing on the atmosphere, the moment and the experience you have just spent so much money to get to.

The selfie stick is going too far.

Sure, some people travel only just to show off, they want to show to others that they’ve got the best picture, the best view and the best shot…. but why care about what others think when you are the one who was actually there??

The spirit of travel is to experience for yourself, and your selfie stick is ruining it for you.

Share your thoughts below!