How to Safely Post Your Thru-Hike on Social Media
Many people are astounded when I tell them of my and Alex’s plans to thru-hike Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this summer. Their astonishment stems from a few areas, and is usually followed by some corresponding questions:
Physique: “Aren’t you like, going to die if you walk that far? How do you even train for something like that?”
Mentality: “Won’t you be really bored? Can you go that long without your cell phone? Are you crazy?“
Time: “How long will that even take you? Isn’t that a long time to be away from your husbands?”
Money: “Isn’t that going to cost a lot of money? Are you sure you can afford that? Wouldn’t that money be better spent elsewhere?”
But the most predominant astonishment, the one that, we will admit, keeps us up some nights, is founded from safety. “Wait. What if someone attacks/hurts/murders you?”
As much as those type of questions offend us (I mean come on, we’re smart ladies. We can take precautions and take care of ourselves, people), we also can’t ignore its validity.
In a day and age where social media rules our world, thru-hikers have gained major fame through documenting their journeys on their Facebook/Instagram accounts. You know who I’m talking about. They’re the very people who’ve paved the way for dirt baggers and hiker trash everywhere to have a platform. An online community where we can virtually follow their adventure and gain inspiration, advice, and watch the unfolding of their thru-hiking story.
With this, no doubt, comes some security issues. Which is why we’ve compiled some of the best virtual safety advice we’ve received thus far:
Never post in real time. This one is for all of you Insta/Facebook/ Snapchat story lovers out there. Consider posting a story using videos and photos from your camera roll after you’ve left a notable location. We suggest a few days to a week afterward.
Avoid using geotags. Using geotags is awesome, don’t get me wrong. It allows your friends and family to pinpoint where you are, and can be used to inspire others to travel to that very spot. However, it also allows for anyone else with viewing access to your profile to figure out exactly where you are and when you were there. Like Rule #1, it’s best (if you’re going to use them at all) to geotag your location after you’ve already left that place.
Strip metadata off of your photos. What’s metadata, you ask? Well newsweek.com does a good job explaining it, but in summary, each one of your photos contains specific data. Usually that data is harmless—focal length information, photo exposure details, etc. However, if GPS services are enabled on your cell phone or digital camera, other information can be gathered from your photo, including where and when it was taken. Luckily, stripping metadata is as easy as disabling location settings from your camera app. Or, if you’re feelin’ some old school vibes, there’s always film.
Consider posting about your journey once it’s already finished. This one is a tough one. Especially for people who enjoy blogging, vlogging, and just generally sharing their experience while it’s happening. It’s fun to show the world what’s going on in your life when it’s going on, but the safest route would most likely to become a post-journey poster. It might even help to enjoy the moment and remain in the present just that little extra as well.
As many people begin their thru-hiking adventures, we hope that this information finds you well and wish you luck on your travels! We can’t wait to share our (virtually safe) story with you all 🙂
What are some of the best safety tips you’ve received? Share with us!
Feature image courtesy Emma Rosenfield.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.