How Social Media Ruined My Holiday

Esquire's Teo van den Broeke is struggling to enjoy paradise

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I'm currently on holiday. It's a lovely holiday, in the Maldives, at one of those remarkable high end resorts with three members of smiley, 'localy-sourced' staff to every guest and rows of enormous, super-luxurious villas snaking into the sea on python-esque jetties.

It's beautiful. The beaches are bed linen white, the sea is an improbable shade of turquoise, the spa is insanely good, as is the seafood. Sam Worthington of Avatar fame is staying in the villa next to us - though you wouldn't know, so well-shaded are the jetties, and ice cream is available on tap, for free.

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The problem is, despite the absolute perfection of my surroundings, I'm a little bit bored.

The reasons for my restlessness, I've realised, are three-fold. The first is that I'm not on my honeymoon and I don't have someone to bonk (underused word, that) every minute of every day. The second, I'm not seven years old and happy to spend all day in the sea pretending to be a shark. The third and main reason, is that I've become one of those young people that the readers of the Daily Mail spent a lot of time being scared of in 2010. I've become a distracted, unfocused, self-centred social media addict, unable to spend more than five minutes lying on a sun lounger without instagraming a picture of myself doing it; Facebooking a hideously smug status of how hot it is here (32 degrees, if you're wondering) or tweeting to tell my followers how good my book is – the book I've not read more than 50 pages of three days into my holiday because I'm too busy tweeting about how much I'm enjoying it.

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The problem is, once you've instagramed a picture of the sky, the sea, the sand and a few shots which show off your white bits, Beach holidays don't offer much more in terms of social media fodder. Hence my boredom.

It's a disease.

If I'm completely honest, I'm here with my mum. She needed a break. I needed a break, we broke together. All good. Only thing is, I think I've passed the illness to her.

Yesterday, we spent over half an hour and a good 60mb of iPhone storage attempting to secure the perfect shot of me jumping into, and her diving into, the sea (see above) for our respective Instagram feeds. She's 55.

We even made a concerted effort not to use our phones for an entire day at the beginning of the trip. That was the same day I taught my mum how to take a selfie. She now can't stop taking selfies. She keeps sending them to me. As we speak. We're lying next to each other on separate sun loungers.

The cure to this oh so modern ailment? Cold turkey.

I've convinced myself, as have so many others, that the only way to have a truly valuable experience is to ensure that said experience scores a minimum of fifty likes. Where, pre-instagram I could simply enjoy the moment for what it was, now the only way to validate my every move is to ensure that my myriad followers (the majority of which come from China and have no connection to me whatsoever – but thank you, Ling, for your continued support) are constantly updated of my whereabouts in glorious, VSCO-filtered technicolor.

Social media dry out it is then ...as soon as I'm back from my holiday. In the meantime, for hourly updates from The Maldives follow me on instagram @teovdb.


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