I have a theory that Millenials love traveling alone and that those of the Generation X do not fancy it all that much. As the smallest generation, Generation Xers need companionship. At my job in New York City, I was one of five Generation Xers. Almost all other employees were Millenials. They would constantly talk and plan trips around the world in which they traveled solo. I do know a few Generation Xers that love traveling solo. But they are also the very anal type that plan everything out ahead of time. Thus, if you are anal, it might very well be easier to travel solo as you get to control everything and don’t have to wait on others.
Because for many people, travel is all about the photographs one can take and the experiences one can document, recent changes in photography make it easier to be a solo traveler. Specifically, because of the selfie more people travel alone happily. A few years ago, when I was in Panama on a day trip through the canal, I noticed a young man taking a ton of selfies He was traveling by himself. I went to him and offered to take a few photographs of him if he wanted. He looked at me as if I were asking him to jump overboard. He looked completely offended by my offer. He must have noticed the look on my face in return for he then explained that there was no need for me to take a photograph as selfies are totally acceptable now. He went on to say that selfies are considered cooler photographs now than ones taken by other people.
I wondered about that “coolness” factor of selfies. I know selfies are an acceptable art form now. However, they are cooler than having other people take your photos so that they are straight and non-blurry? Interesting flip on the photo script. We want slightly unfocused or slightly tilted photographs as they represent more authentic photo experiences. Whether that is true is in the eye of the beholder. Although, I must admit I am still taken back by how that guy didn’t care for a photograph taken by someone else. Maybe I am confused by his preference since I am horrible at taking selfies. I don’t even understand how to use my selfie stick. When I do try to take a selfie, it inevitably comes out dark or I come out with 20 chins. I know what is my good side and how to pose, when others are taking the photo. I have no idea how to pose myself for myself. No selfies for me!
In that vein, I do not care to travel alone. I don’t care if selfies are all the rage and make solo travel super hip and cool. For me travel, is about exploring and unpacking meaning. I need someone else there with me to debate the meanings I think I have uncovered. I also need someone to take my photograph as I am inept at selfies. What documentation of my trip would I have if I didn’t travel with others? Of course, I could do what most social beings would do and just ask someone else to take my photograph. Apparently, however, that is so old-school.