Derek Sivers

Travel without social praise


I met a couple who were thinking of quitting their jobs and travelling the world for a year. They asked my thoughts.

I suggested they should only do it if they don’t bring a camera, and don’t tell anyone but their family and few dear friends. No sharing on social media.

Why? Because we often live for others, without even realizing it. We are trying to impress an invisible crowd. We like the social reward of saying, “We’re travelling the world!” We imagine how friends and strangers would react to this big news.

We go places we think would be impressive to other people. We take photos that will make our life look wonderful when we share them. We want that praise — that social reward.

Do we really want to do this thing, for its own sake? Or do we just want the praise?

One way to find out is to see how appealing it would be to do it with no photos, and no sharing. Like the first person to run a marathon without talking about it.

If doing something makes us that kind of person, is it still true if we don’t announce it?