If you’re preparing to head out on your own travel adventure, you might be considering the different ways that you could showcase your travels through social media. Social-savvy Remote Year participants are sharing their best tips to document travel.
The profound and life-changing effects of a travel experience are difficult to describe to someone who has never taken that type of journey. After months on the road, breaking out of the conventional comfort that you’ve grown so used to, it can be extremely difficult to capture, let alone sum up, your experience in a casual conversation.
How can you possibly explain the lightbulb moments that hit you out of nowhere, or the contradicting emotions of insignificance and magnitude you felt when you looked out over one of the world’s most beautiful cities from a mountaintop?
You’ve changed - heart, mind, and soul - and there’s no going back to “past you” when “present you” has seen, tasted, heard and felt so much. Is it even possible to use the basic platform that social media provides to convey to the world that you are no longer the person that you used to be? You have your doubts.
And yet, when you set out on an adventure, you may get the urge to document your travels so that you can save them for posterity - or at least share your unique experiences with your social media followers in an effort to add weight to the importance of living life outside of your comfort zone.
Documenting that “new normal” is an everyday occurence when you’re traveling. Some Remote Year participants have started a trend of filming one second from every day of their entire trip. Many take it one step further and turn their photography, videography, and writing hobbies into full-on money-making careers while traveling with a work and travel program.
If you’re preparing to head out on your own travel adventure (or just daydreaming about it), you might be considering the different ways that you could keep track of your adventures in a unique way. Or, perhaps you are already on the road and are looking for creative ways to showcase your travels through social media. Maybe you’re getting sick of the predictable “travel porn” you’re seeing all over your feed.
To give you the best tips and tricks for authentically documenting your travel journey, we turned to a few of the social media superstars who have traveled (or are currently traveling) with a Remote Year program.
If you want your archive of memories to be authentic and true to who you are, it’s important to choose a medium that suits your strengths. Have you always been a #wordnerd? Think about starting a blog or a monthly newsletter. Did you buy a GoPro specifically for this trip? Maybe YouTube or Instagram will be the channel for you. Here’s what a few media-savvy Remotes had to say:
I think Instagram is the channel that feels like the right balance for me. I started out the year trying to make vlogs, but I found that during my trips - I’d be spending more time trying to get footage than I would be just enjoying the moment. Photography allows me to find the right balance between capturing the moment and also being present in it.
Visual narratives are key for my process when documenting my travel to any new place. For me personally, Instagram Stories are a great way of capturing the essence of the events in a nutshell. It gives me flexibility as a photographer to showcase my photo shoots, but also share the behind-the-scenes moments. It’s a great way to include geo-locations, hashtags, and mentions of the people I photograph in my photo or video content. Most of my travels have been saved within the story highlights on my Instagram profile for anyone to re-visit at a later date.
There are so many options, I think it just depends on your goals and where your audience is. I used Squarespace for blogging, incorporated videos I posted to YouTube, and then published the blogs on Facebook, which is where most of my family is. Medium is a really powerful blogging social network and you can get great organic growth from it. For photography, I'm in love with Instagram and highly recommend it because of the huge audience. Ultimately, it just comes down to who your audience is and where they spend time. And of course, if you like to sketch - draw, draw, draw!
If there’s one thing that you need to keep in mind as you document your travels, it’s that you are an individual. There are thousands of travel bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers in the world - you need to bring your own perspective to the table to stand out.
The best way to capture your Remote Year experience is to think about what your audience wants to see. Do you they want to see you in front of all the iconic tourist spots in any destination or do they want to hear up close and personal accounts of your experience thus far, or are they just happy to see you looking like a swag goddess in every location you tag? Sharing your Remote Year travels is certainly for personal memories but it’s also to share your experiences with those back home who live through you. There is no perfect aesthetic or perfect shot other than to capture how much fun you are having.
I tried to stay neutral and stay true to my current writing and photography style. I like to take a step back and share thoughts and images as if I were writing for someone that hasn't visited the place I was writing about. I liked to add a mix of creative and unique images to help tell the story of where I was.
My main focus was to showcase the projects and collaborations I undertook, the people I met, and the places I visited. The focus has definitely been more on travel, but I also wanted to show myself connecting with locals during my travels.
These Remote Year participants made a splash with their day-to-day documentation of their time on the road. But what did they wish they had done differently?
In general, I wish I would have written more. I don’t take the time to do it often, but even in Month 11, I am already starting to forget little meaningful details like the name of that coffee shop I used to go to in Prague, or that club where Kevin got kicked out for ripping his t-shirt off. I probably will forget the names of most of them in a few years which is sad to think about.
I'm constantly shooting video and photos, and usually these manifest themselves into weekly vlog posts or pretty Instagram pictures. However, there are lots of average moments that occur while traveling that maybe aren't vlog or Insta-worthy, but that I would love to capture and save. Things like a nice bike ride, or a cool dinner, or a funny moment with friends.
I wish I made a concrete plan of all the specific things I wanted to photograph and take video of before I started Remote Year. I dropped the ball on many things early on, like forgetting to take one photo of my apartment in Month One. I wish I took a photo of myself in every coworking space and every favorite café. I wish I took video of every travel day. But, my biggest regret was not getting photos and videos with all the locals I developed friendships with.
Before you hit the road, content plan in hand, ready to showcase your trip to the world, we asked these masters of documenting travel to give you a final piece of advice:
I would pick a goal or a theme and use that as your anchor. If you're on Remote Year to learn a new skill, write about that new skill. If you're on Remote Year to transition into a new job, write about that transition. It's okay to switch your theme, but starting from one is a good way to stay organized and have like-minded people follow along. You never know what kinds of connections you’ll make!
This was advice we got from Remote Year OG member, TJ Norris, on our first day: “Document photos and videos of everything, taking way more than you think you need or want. Storage space is cheap, so take a pic of every cafe menu you like and every interesting person you come into contact with. It's been about a year and a half since my Remote Year program ended and I still get warm and fuzzy watching videos and pics from the year!
Pay for a premium cloud storage service - it’s like insurance for your pictures. Broken/lost/stolen phones happen and you definitely don’t want to be in a situation where you have lost all of your photos from the year.
The bottom line is this: documenting your experience should be fun, and it shouldn't feel like a chore. Documenting should be about saving and sharing the things that are important to you, and it shouldn't be something you're forcing yourself to do.
Overwhelmed? Don’t worry, you don’t have to have it all figured out the moment that you touch down in your first city. Try out a few different mediums and see what fits you best, then let your unique perspective shine through. With these tips from the social media geniuses on Remote Year - and a bevy of breathtaking backdrops - you’ll be sure to find your stride in no time.