I first got Instagram in 2012, which is nearly ten years ago. I don’t quite know how to feel about that, especially as it’s been part of my life for all of my twenties thus far. My first few posts were screenshots of photos from my UK trip that I’d already uploaded to Facebook, because I only had an iPod touch at the time. Yes, even I scratch my head at that now.
Instagram has evolved over the years, with one of the biggest features to be introduced being stories. I can see the benefit of Instagram stories, as it can foster more meaningful conversation with followers about what you’ve posted, instead of just receiving a ‘like’ for a photo.
However, the biggest downfall of Instagram stories for me at least, is the pressure I put on myself to use the feature when I’m away on holiday. It’s like I’m subconsciously on the prowl for photos that wouldn’t just make a good post, but a good story as well. With the location feature, you can show off not just what you’re seeing, but where you’re seeing it.
Right before my most recent holiday to Western Australia, I had this epiphany. What if I didn’t post on Instagram at all while I was away? What if I still took photos, but with more intention? What if I took photos with an actual camera? All of this questions led me to searching Facebook marketplace for a second-hand camera and in a mad rush without too much thought, I spent $90 on a second-hand digital camera. It wasn’t the greatest camera in the world, and I didn’t even own a device that would take the memory card, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t already living a more meaningful life.
Right then and there, it was decided. I was going to have an Instagram-free holiday. I felt excited at the prospect, and it already felt like I was eighteen again. The more I tested out my second-hand camera, the more flaws I found, but luckily my brother felt sorry for me and lent me his much better camera, which looked way more professional and in the end took much better photos.
While on my two week holiday through South-West Western Australia, I didn’t post to Instagram once, and it was oddly freeing. Making that boundary for myself meant I didn’t have to stress over whether or not to post to my stories or on the grid, because it had already been decided that I wouldn’t be doing any of that. Instead, I took lots of nice photos with my brother’s camera, which are now sitting on my laptop waiting to be printed.
Giving myself a holiday without posting to Instagram didn’t equate to a silent retreat in any sense, but it did force me to stop and think a little bit more. It allowed me to enjoy the scenery without stressing about getting my friends to see it within a few hours, I’d tell them about it later. Instead of taking 20 photos on my phone of the same scene and only using 19 of them, I took 5 decent photos that are worth printing off for a physical album.
Even with this experience, I do still enjoy the sneaky Instagram story of something different or interesting, and I’m always using the ‘close friends’ feature to provide life updates to my inner circle of 30. I would recommend to anyone wanting to change it up, and perhaps feel like a teenager again, to go sans phone camera and embrace the old school ways. Just like old records, maybe the album we hold will make a comeback too.
And because this post wouldn’t be complete without it, here are some photos I took.