I slouched into the cushy couch behind my desk at work on Wednesday afternoon. It’s a new addition to my team’s little nook, and since the whole concept behind startup culture is “be comfortable at work so that work can become your new home,” my boss and all of the leadership around our office seemed to be cool with the idea.
Headphones plugged in, I took a sip of recently French pressed coffee from a mug that was gifted to me and looked out the window at the courtyard. With the chill blast of air conditioning on my face, I opened my laptop and began doing research for some upcoming projects. Between the mix of alt-rock and pop-punk that is my Spotify Daily Mix, I suddenly heard a tune that changed the pace.
“As We Ran” by the band National Parks gently danced through my headphones and into my eardrums. The song tells the tale of two lovers running away, through fields and hills, using the stars as their map and ultimately ending up at the Grand Tetons. It’s a nice and uplifting toe-tapper, I definitely recommend it.
The song played and I almost couldn’t focus on work. I glanced back out the window and into the courtyard below us. Hearing these two people sing their hearts out about the vagabond lifestyle was, frankly, inspiring. I took out my earbuds and stood up from the couch. As I walked over to the window and put my black skinny jeans, white v-neck, and gray zip-up hoodie with the hood partially up on my head on display for the world, I thought to myself, “would I be able to do that?”
No. No, I wouldn’t.
Look, let’s be honest with ourselves here: That lifestyle would suck. Sure, it’s fun to romanticize it when so much of what we do has an insane amount of structure, but really think about it for a minute. You’re outside sweating your balls off during the day and freezing them back up at night. You probably don’t have enough money to buy clothes because you don’t have a job. Let’s say that you actually did go to the Grand Tetons, now you have to worry about bears and shit too. It’s not like you’re just in some field in the town outside of your parents’ place. There are, like, actual predators out there that can fuck you up. I’m not knocking nature. Nature is beautiful and powerful and terrifying and nurturing. I’m knocking the people that voluntarily fuck with that kind of stuff.
No, the vagabond lifestyle isn’t for me. But you know what would be? Pretending to be one on Instagram. Being an Instagram vagabond/camper/traveler would be the coolest shit ever, for a bunch of different reasons.
First, you get comments from all of those suckers jealous of your shtick of giving it all up to go ~W A N D E R.~ Whether you admit it or not, you probably follow an Instagram account about someone who quit their job to go travel or live the simple life or some shit. I haven’t done the research, but I’m willing to bet that for every one of those people that have a semi-successful Instagram, there are hundreds more that totally biffed it and ended up having to go back to their regular jobs. Either way, there’s no doubt that social media has given us a platform to make other people envious of us, and what better way to do it than post dope pics of the baby buffalo you saw on a “hike” from “this morning.”
There are other routes you could take with it as well. For example, go back and re-read the first four paragraphs of this column. Could you imagine me trying to live the simple life for any period of time at all? Think about me trying to start a fire, or cook on a pan over a fire, or have to deal with any kind of mild discomfort or inconvenience. That shit would be hilarious, and would probably be killer on social media.
On top of all of this, I would almost argue that the Instagram traveler/camper/whatever lifestyle is the new vagabond lifestyle. You could get paid to take sweet pictures and blog every here and there, but other than that, what are your responsibilities? Who do you report to? There’s no chain of command, no deadlines, no hoops to jump through. It’s just you, your camera (phone), and nature.
And, hopefully, your thousands and thousands of followers. .
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