For better or worse, we document pretty much every second of our lives now. Then, we put the photographic highlights online for mass consumption. It’s such a part of our culture at the present that sometimes it’s hard to know whether we’re just documenting the amazing experiences we’re having or if we’re having those experiences in order to document them. The whole mess is kind of a chicken or the egg thing at this point. And obsessively scrolling through our Instagram feeds to see where our friends (and favorite celebs and/or robots) are hanging out has become so ingrained in us that it isn’t even a conscious act anymore.
Or something. The point is, the world has changed rapidly in a short amount of time. First, digital cameras allowed us to not be precious about how many shots we take and then, seeing them instantaneously, allowed us to cultivate the most attractive shots in the most photographic locales. Suddenly, we could always get a great photo of ourselves in front of every monument we stumbled upon. And smartphones took it even further. Now, we don’t even need to remember to bring a camera. We have one on us, always. Ready to document the spectacular, or the mundane, and, of course, the really good hair days.
But in some ways, this perfection leads to a homogenous look on social platforms. Follow @Instarepeat if you need evidence of how this happens amongst influencers. The most Instagrammed backgrounds are just what you’d expect, conventional: Paris — the Eiffel tower, Vegas — the fake Eiffel tower, Your bedroom — attempting the sex position, “the Eiffel tower.” And look, going to those places, taking those same pictures as everyone else, it’s not the worst thing, but we’ve become weary of them. So, we set out to find places that aren’t Instagrammed to death. The place where few have traversed or (gasp) you aren’t allowed to take pictures at all and have to just sit with your own thoughts and take it all in.
Quick note: We’re using Instagram shots in these locations to show them (as ironic as ten thousand spoons when all you need is knife, we know). But we’ve avoided pictures taken secretly if it isn’t allowed. Because, yes, you can probably get away with sneaking your phone in and snapping a couple of pics in some of these spots. But maybe don’t do it, okay? Whether it’s to respect a religious or cultural tradition or to keep priceless art from fading so that future generations can enjoy, you are not the one special person who deserves to get a picture over everyone else (and if you think you are, understand that a million others think the same thing, and that impact adds up).
Paro Taktsang (Bhutan)
Located on a cliff, 3,120 meters above the sea level, this Buddhist monastery (tucked into the mountains) draws pilgrims and tourists in from all over the world.
Why it’s tough to get that Insta shot:
This is where Guru Padmasambhava (called the ‘Second Buddha’ in the region) is said to have flown a tiger to, and then, meditated in a cave for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours. It’s considered an extremely holy place and electronics of any kind are not permitted inside the monastery.
Why you should go anyway:
Called “the holiest site in Bhutan”, this Unesco World Heritage Site has been used for meditation since the 8th century. It’s a special place. The hike to it is steep but manageable (though, with the elevation and 2-3 hours it takes to reach, visitors are urged to go slowly), and involves spectacular views, a waterfall, and even a lovely café. When you get there, you can be blessed by the monks, anointed with sacred water, and just take some time away from technology to reflect in the same way that the people have in this spot for a thousand years.
In the quiet, free from distraction, you can open yourself up to have a spiritual experience.
BUT CAN YOU STILL GET SOMETHING UP ON INSTAGRAM TO PROVE THAT YOU EXIST?
Yep. The outside of the monastery is stunning and the hike up the cliff — through lush forest — will provide plenty of gorgeous pics for the peanut gallery back home.
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Looking Up At Tiger's Nest Before The Last Final Climb . Tiger's Nest Monastery hangs on a precarious cliff at 3,120 metres (10,240 ft), about 900 metres (3,000 ft) above the Paro valley and can only be accessed by foot (or half way by horse if you aren't too heavy for the small horses). But the climb is well worth it, with views of the high Himalayas and changing forests as you climb up. . The trek starts from car parking point and from there after 3km of trek you reach at the top of 600 descending steps followed by 200 ascending steps (and remember this is reversed on the way back!) 😉 . Bhutan, 2017 . Shot by my wife . #travel #trek #tigersnest #taktsang #paro #parovalley #bhutan #lokenderpilaniya #colors #weather #naturr #love #peace #trekking #monastery #instatravel #bestoftheday #global_hotshotz #ig_bliss #exploreeverything #bbcearth #earthfocus . #wanderlust #watchthisinstagood #himalayas #planetearth #awesome_earthpix #global_shotz