A History of Tourist Photos For the Solo Traveller

Magnificent view at the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

People ask why I don’t take many photos when I travel. Well as it turns out, getting strangers to take your photos is like asking a kindergartner to draw your wedding portrait – it usually doesn’t turn out well and sometimes, you lose your camera.

If you ask me, I think selfies came about after someone finally realized that if he/she stuck out his/her arm and blind-took a pic, there’d be a better photo outcome than actually getting a human to do the same thing. The selfie-stick probably came about after that hypothetical human realized that he needed more help than just sticking out an arm. 

It’s not even like the worst photographers I’ve experienced aren’t looking like they’re trying. Usually they’d be taking photos of their own while rocking a Pro Photographer Pose. 

Example photo of people taking photos in a dramatic environment to emphasize the hardcore nature of photo-taking that I’m trying to illustrate.

Me? Sometimes I just take pictures of what’s in front of me. Like this. 

Picture that I took while standing on a rock.

And then sometimes, someone would spot me standing on the rock and ask if I’d like a pic and then take a pic for them in return, to which I would say yes. 

Picture that someone took while I’m standing on that same rock.

Generally people seem to really think I must really like seeing myself. I could take selfies that feature more content than some of these pics. 

Me riding a camel. Or a pile of rags. In a construction site. In Jurong.
In Parc Güell in Barcelona where, as you can see, the Gaudi architecture is breathtaking.

So there. The mystery of why solo travellers don’t have photos of themselves solved (unless they’re really vain and love selfies). 


2015 was the International Year of Light. 2015 was also the year I took off on a series of very long backpacking trips. Most involved lugging a not-very-light unicycle around. Obviously I didn’t get the memo.

A bit of history – over the last decade or so, I’ve developed a bit of wanderlust where I irrationally lug big objects (e.g. unicycle, snowboard, boyfriend) all around the world. “Yippee-i-ay,” I thought when I went off in 2015. “With all this time and no job, I’m totally going to spend my days writing, y’all!”

That never happened.

In between selfie time where troglodytes transform into the most outgoing #influencers and this one guy who hounded me for 2 days to proclaim that I am wrong about how my credit card works in my country because he’s read a Travel Blog, I lost interest in chronicling my journeys. Recently I’ve been cleaning out my phone archives and some forgotten stories resurfaced. I think I’d like to log these stories and maybe my stream of consciousness for my future self. In case infomercials are right and my non-organic, trans-fat-preservatives-and-salt-laden diet does lead to senility at age 40.

I sure hope those other infomercials about how certain internet habits make you blind aren’t true.