'Ego travel' – your guide to the narcissistic heart of modern holidaying
Millennials have replaced the sun, sea and sex of the Club 18-30 holiday with Insta-friendly trips featuring toad licking and ayurvedic smoothies. Have you become one of them?
After 50 years of putting the “shag” in Shagaluf, Club 18-30 could be coming to an end. According to Thomas Cook, the tour operator that owns the infamous holiday brand, millennials are more interested in “ego travel” than pairing off with like-minded singles over buckets of cocktails, with their tastes being shaped by what looks good when posted on social media. But what is ego travel – and are you guilty of it? Here is your guide to the narcissistic heart of modern holidaying.
Everything’s a personal journey
Ego travellers don’t go on holiday. For you, travel is a spiritual pursuit, taking you on a path to inner peace, happiness and solidarity with your fellow humans (especially the guy who brings kombucha cocktails to your sun lounger and massages your feet for a dollar – he might not speak English, but you definitely feel a deep connection). Your posts on Instagram are accompanied by nonsensical pseudo-philosophical captions such as: “We all walk our own paths”, “Follow no one” and “The road will always lead you to a new sunrise #livetrue”.
Your food is to be looked at, not eaten
Food is something to be consumed from a bird’s-eye view through the lens of a camera. You tour the world visiting plant-based restaurants such as California’s Cafe Gratitude so you can ’gram your lunch of “peaceful” avocado toast washed down with a “harmonious” ayurvedic smoothie. You love #coffee and consider it an identity.
Your body is the only temple you visit
Your “journeys” (remember: not holidays) centre on retreats. Had a stressful week at work? Time to spend a month in a silent meditation centre in Goa. Sent an offensive tweet and feel sad about the pile-on? Two weeks digital detox in Bali. Looking for a new direction in life? Time for a shamanic toad-licking ceremony in Ibiza (yes, these are a thing). Share the whole thing online with shots of you doing the natarajasana pose on top of a rock, using the hashtag #NamasteBitches.
You sleep under the stars
But even if you don’t, you make sure to post a photo of the view from your tent, feet poking out to reveal a stunning view of a sparkling mountain range. Your Herschel rucksack is in shot, with a carefully curated selection of books and a enamel mug of #coffee. You spend a lot of money on outdoor gear – and you’ll happily spend $100 on an axe even though you’re only camping for one night on a site with facilities.
You are a master photographer
You take 300 photos a day, but share only one: a faux-candid snap of you and your attractive friends in front of a ramshackle tiki bar with a hand-painted sign across the top (unattractive friends can be cropped out). Ideally, you book a holiday that comes with a professional photographer, so you can truly kickback and let them do the work for you.