All eyes on me: Holiday divas on social media

Showing off your holidays on social media.

“Look at me, I can afford luxury!” Or that’s the widespread attitude on social media, especially during the summer holidays. Because summer is the holiday season, right?

But who doesn’t take summer holidays? Well, there are of course those whose work nature doesn’t allow them to (usually people working in the hospitality industries). Or people who cannot meet the expenses. Some can only afford a tiny bit and they will usually choose a modest way to spend their free time. And then there’s the majority which will most likely resort to endless boasting about their luxurious breaks on Facebook and the likes. That is holiday narcissism for you.

True, the social media epidemic could be responsible for this kind of behaviour. It’s the perfect tool for showing off and comparing yourself to others. While some might choose a cheap weekend break or a road trip, there will be those uploading photos from expensive resorts, sipping extravagant cocktails, their dinners resembling those of celebrated gourmands.

What’s wrong with that, you may ask. These are well-deserved holidays, after all, some of these people have been working 24/7 the whole year (OK, an exaggeration maybe). The thing is, it’s not just about holidays but also about everyday activities: I know people who will post a selfie every time they visit a hotel bar or have breakfast at a bistro reading their book (the latter often being an excuse for the selfie itself). But don’t they have the right to spend their money as they wish?

Showing off your holidays on social media.

I guess they do. But how proper is it to display their pretentious lifestyle on Facebook or any other social media? It depends on the social context. And in the case of my country, the financial crisis-stricken Greece, where the minimum wage is under 586 euros per month, the unemployment rate is roughly at 20% and bearing in mind tragedies involving the drowning of refugees every now and then or the recent wildfires that caused the death of nearly a hundred citizens, well, in this case, the social context is plain wrong.

“So what are we to do? Waste our summer in mourning?” a friend recently asked me. Yes, we can definitely mourn (albeit silently). But we can also be humble and modest and try to promote a creative/productive lifestyle instead of being provocative on the social media platforms.

That is true for the nouveau riche kind, the pretentious elitist, the working-class employee who finally gets a chance to spend their hard-earned salary,  the digital marketing geek who uploads photos programming on his laptop on a hammock overlooking the ocean or the booklover who takes selfies reading in expensive beach houses. With this democratisation of luxury, one wonders whether luxury is still the appropriate term to use.

Poor or rich, showing off your expensive lifestyle is pathetic, even if it lies within the temporary state of holidays. And not just that: I think it is downright offensive to those who are in need.

About fun, social media photos (Dialectics, no. 1)


A cafe in a metropolitan European capital. It’s the end of July and two co-workers from a multinational corporation are having their lunch break. The sky is grey and it’s been raining for a while now. Co-worker B is taking his summer vacation the following week. Co-worker A hasn’t planned any summer holidays but usually goes skiing in the winter. He has been described as a workaholic by his friends and he is the one to talk first.


A:   So I hear you’re off to to the Mediterranean soon.
B:   Yes, to the Greek islands.
A:   Tim’s there now. He’s been posting sunbathing photos every few seconds on Facebook. Say, what do you think of the whole situation? You know, all these people showing off, how they’re having fun and stuff.
B:   Well, I think it’s OK.
A:   I just don’t get it, I mean why try so hard to convince us they’re having fun?
B:   Uhm… Because they are? I mean I myself upload photos from my holidays. And I will certainly do that next week.
A:   It has nothing to do with holidays. It’s about people taking photos at the pub. At restaurants. Having fancy dinners and drinking expensive cocktails. Having fun…
B:   You have to admit they’re inspirational. You know, when I’m at work l feel relaxed looking at this kind of photos.
A:   Relaxed or lazy?
B:   Now you’re pushing it.
A:   Well, think about it. Instead of taking fun photos, why don’t we post photos of ourselves at work, working on our projects at 7 pm? Working overtime even? Or you know, us parents running errands. Our wives doing the dishes.
B:   Cause that’s depressing?
A:   I mean don’t you think these real life kinds of photos could be the true motivation to be more productive? You say fun photos are inspirational, but I’m not quite convinced that proving that having fun could have creative gains. What do these posts teach us? What is the aim? To become lazy hippies?
B:   Now, that’s kind of racist. I really think you ought to take some time off work.
A:   And I think our lunch break is over.
B:   Already?
A:   Back to work. And no surfing on social media until 5!
B:   Yes, sir!

How NOT to be disappointed with your summer holidays

I have to admit: I don’t like summer that much (reverse SAD, anyone?) but I always look forward to it. The reason is simple: long holidays! There is, however, one thing that creeps into the back of my mind. The high hopes, the great expectations, the emotional burden that surround this holiday season.

If you go on holiday to some exciting destination, these expectations rise tenfold. A quiet, well organised hotel. A view to the sea. Tropical beaches. Carefree time away from work. Reality can often be different though: you end up tucked away in a modest apartment overlooking some alley or car park, overcrowded beaches, your colleagues or boss calling you on the phone or emailing you three times a day for advice. If this is the case, don’t let these things ruin your holidays. And this is so important I need to emphasise it more: Do not let anything ruin your holidays.

It can be one tiny little thing like a dirty hotel room,or -even a holiday destination completely different from what you had been expecting. But you have to think: how bad can it be? You are not at work, you are free. Is a small nuisance worth giving up on what you had been waiting for for the last couple of months? Of course not. This is why it is important to be prepared for these kind of disappointments and unpleasant surprises before you travel. And when you get there, deal with them like a pro: see if you can be transferred to a new room, make the most of your different options (surely there must be some secluded beaches and crowded ones to cater for every taste — you just need to ask the locals!)

If you get bombarded with emails, set a time every day to deal with them, but try to do this only once a day (early afternoon before your siesta or early evening before going out sound like ideal moments to do this!) So, once again: Do not let anything or anyone ruin your holidays.


Of course, there are those of us who prefer to stay home during the holiday season. I always find it a good opportunity to do some creative work away from the stress of my job and my everyday routine. For those of you who happen to stay home, think of it like this: staying at home does not mean you won’t have a good time. Use it as a chance to do what you like most, because you know this is the time when you are allowed to do it even better. Why is that? Well, you have tons of free time to begin with.

And there’s more: have you ever considered that when you break free from your everyday routine, you put yourself in a different mindset? It can take some time, but gradually your brain will adjust to this. You can be more creative, develop your hobbies or passions more intensely, let yourself enjoy every single moment. And this is the most crucial thing: never, never think that your time is running out. This can be depressing and stall your creativity. If you fall into this trap, just try to think positively: time does run out quickly when we are enjoying ourselves. This is why a regular weekday seems to drag on and on endlessly when we have to deal with a boring job. It’s really that simple, you don’t need a PhD in psychology to realise this. Why let yourself be unhappy then?