Is it just me or does it seem like errbody is travelling these days? With no reluctance whatsoever in sharing the most magical moments (or so they seem) of their journey. #GUILTYYY!!
I not gonna lie, I have a pretty epic travel album on Facebook featuring beautiful vistas and a very tanned and toned version of myself. From bathing on various beaches in Portugal/Greece to floating in the Dead Sea and skiing in the Austrian Alps. It would definitely appear to the viewer as if I were “living the dream”.
What I didn’t add to that album was a very pale, slightly depressed and 9kg heavier than usual me washing dishes in Austria for three months. Along with some other less glamorous, less picturesque and certainly less documented moments and destinations of my journey. But just because they weren’t depicted doesn’t mean they never existed.
They say pictures speak more than 1000 words but that doesn’t ensue they are all true.
Every snapshot has a story and it might not be the one you initially thought up. For instance, that beautiful piece of Spanish coastline (pictured bottom middle) was actually a nude beach where I witnessed two men jerking off in broad daylight. Not what you’d expect on a beach day! Now take your gaze to the top left image of Petra, Jordan. A magnificent place full of history, mystery and culture… Along with abused animals being worked to death for money from ignorant tourists. But how could you guess these details by looking at a strategically placed camel or arial beach shot?
It just goes to show how easy it is to crop, filter, edit and choose what makes it on social media and what doesn’t. But sometimes it’s what we don’t share that is most important and worthy of sharing. It’s what I didn’t capture that truly changed me. It’s the ugly, uncomfortable and unexpected experiences which had a greater internal impact than sunbathing by an infinity pool in Greece (surprise, surprise).
If photoshopping people creates an unrealistic standard of beauty then we are just as guilty in creating an unrealistic standard of travel.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to share the most beautiful and idealised versions of who and where we are. But that does not come without its own dangers. Because if we fail to grasp that “light cannot exist without dark” and things are not always as they seem…Then our perception of Self and the world around us will ultimately be distorted and narrowed as a result. Do you catch my drift?
What I’m trying say is don’t be fooled by a fancy photo folks. Let my honesty shed light on a certain reality so we can stop lying to ourselves based on a fantasy. It is a harmful mistake to doubt the quality of your life based on someone else’s Instagram account. There will always be two sides to every coin, even if we fail to acknowledge one of them. NO-ONE is exempt from facing pain (or acne for that matter) regardless of where they are, what they look like or how much money/likes/followers they have. We are all EQUAL on this earth and a few stamps in a passport doesn’t change that (it allows you to realise it more). Take pride in knowing that your life is just as meaningful and precious as that blonde bombshells’ making her way through Bali one bikini at a time. No better, no worse, just different.