Thanks to social media, the outdoor community has grown increasingly preoccupied with getting the “perfect shot”. It has become a priority for many, and adventures have seemingly become more about looking cool than about the experience in and of itself. The internet is flooded with outdoors folk scrambling to upload their newest photos from their most recent excursions.
One can scroll through thousands of photos on Instagram of people sitting on the edge of some insane cliff, looking off at an unbelievable view, wrapped casually in a trendy woven blanket, staring dreamily into the great expanse of the wild. These photos are cool. They are fun to look at. They are even inspiring. But the problem occurs when the desire to replicate these photos and produce something cooler and better becomes the all-consuming purpose of your adventures. Besides, let’s be honest: When you’re covering 10+ miles in the backcountry, who wants to worry about lugging an extra blanket around anyways?
I’ve been guilty of trying to look cool. Really guilty. I think most of us have been at one point or another. Who doesn’t want a picture of themself looking like a badass in an amazing setting? But I’ve learned that the effort it takes to look cool during your adventures can be exhausting and it also can lead to missing out on what really matters. Besides, I’m coming to the realization that I’m just not that cool, and that’s ok. I’m too busy having a good time to be worried about it.
Here are five reasons why looking cool during your adventure is overrated:
1. Be present in your adventure
Not worrying about what you look like, or about staging the perfect photo, allows you to be focused on the moment and on the memories that are being made.
2. You're probably trying too hard
More often than not, trying to look cool ends up looking like you are trying to look cool. Which isn’t very cool.
3. A picture isn’t always worth a thousand words
I’ve found that most of the time, a picture just doesn’t capture the beauty and significance of a moment. Some things are better left to memory.
4. Trying to look cool can be stressful
Worrying about your hair looking perfectly wind-ruffled, overthinking your hiking wardrobe, and trying not to appear out of breath when you are truthfully exhausted is just too much work. Plus, sometimes it is easier to just keep the camera stowed away.
5. Embrace the dirt
Being sunburnt, sweaty, dirty, and mismatched is part of the fun of being outside. Embrace it and don’t worry about what you look like. Just go have yourself a blast.