It’s no longer enough to just travel the world. In the digital age we must document our journey so all of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can travel with us too. Because, really: if you don’t take a selfie—a handheld self-portrait usually made with an i-device—how will anyone know that you were ever really there?
“The selfie is a new type of travel photo,” explains Dr. Lev Manovich, a professor at CUNY’s Graduate Center and the project coordinator of Selfiecity, an academic investigation into the where and why of the phenomenon. Portraits may have always been integral to travel photography, but the emergence of the two-camera mobile phone means people no longer need a friend or trustworthy stranger to take one.
“Since the face occupies a larger part of the images, these self-portraits may function differently from earlier travel photos,” Manovich continues. “They do not document the travel scene—rather they announce, ‘I was here.’”
And this year, with World Cup mania taking over Brazil, Universal Orlando opening a new section of its Harry Potter mini-park, and Coachella celebrating 15 years of wrecking the minds and bodies (and fashion sense) of music fans, there’s plenty to announce. If Kobe Bryant can have a selfie-off in a Turkish Airlines commercial and Ellen can break Twitter records at the Oscars, then you can surely make your friends and family jealous for months. And if you do it in the Philippines, home to the Selfiest City in the World, you’ll be in good company; Manhattan and Miami trail just behind.
So grab your favorite mobile camera—be it a Canon, iPhone, or GoPro—and get snapping. This year, you don’t want to spare a minute of #FOMO. We’ve even included a few hashtags for you to use along the way.