The Proof is in the Pudding! “Influencers” Have Tainted This Popular Travel Spot
A few months ago I wrote a post, Why You Will Never See A Trip Report to the Maldives from Me! That sparked some debate and there was some disagreement about what I was trying to get across. I was a little clunky in my delivery of the underlying issue I was trying to get at. Because of that I did a follow up post:
I encourage you to read both of them if you haven’t already and especially read the comments in both. A little over a week ago I stumbled across an article by Business Insider that was a dead ringer for what I was talking about. Instagram influencers have mislead tons of people about “the Gates of Heaven” in Bali (The Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple).
How Influencers Misled Millions of their Followers
In my articles linked above I said that social media, and social media influencers in particular, have led people to travel to places just to get that perfect photo to post online. That includes bloggers, Instagram stars, and regular people that wanna make their Facebook friends jelly. It is a sickness on the rise in our culture and I thought that the Maldives was a perfect example of this, especially in the miles & points world. But Business Insider showed me that the Gates of Heaven may hold that title.
Popular Instagram influencers have been posting pictures from this beautiful location over and over again. And the serene beauty found in the pictures has driven regular folks to seek out this location when traveling through Bali.
And with a view like that – who wouldn’t want to go there! Except this is what it really looks like:
Wait a second – where is that pristine lake? And why are all of these people in line?
That is a line of people waiting to get their photograph taken by a guy with a mirror. For a few bucks he holds a mirror up to the phone to give the illusion of a pristine lake leading up to the Gates.
Huh? Why would someone do this? Because a better picture means more shares, likes, followers etc. Several people have gone to the Gates of Heaven and felt cheated or “catfished” because what they see in reality doesn’t match what they saw online. People are doing this even though the place has amazing natural beauty as it is!
I am curious if this changes the minds of anyone who didn’t agree with my original articles. I think there is a whole generation of people that are selecting travel destinations solely based on what will give them the best social media post. That makes me sad because social media is a fake persona, it is only a small snip of life and the pictures at times can be hugely misleading. Like that picture of the girl hanging over the pool “risking death” when there was another pool right below her that conveniently gets cut off. Chasing the perfect picture for social media has actually lead to many deaths, especially in our national parks.
I hope this is a fad that will run its course soon. People should be traveling to locations that inspire them, encourage them to grow, to see a new perspective or to simply unwind. That is what I hope people get out of their travels at least. Otherwise you are spending a lot of time and money to get the shallowest level of enjoyment. Heck you could just pay someone a fraction of the cost to take picture of you on a fake private jet!
The question I guess is should I care if travel like this truly makes them happy? Probably not. But for the people that get tricked along the way…that is where I have an issue.