It’s all too easy to be completely misled by the carefully manicured shots we see on social media. Whether it’s a girl posing on top of a mountain in a floaty red dress or besties enjoying a champagne picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, these shots give the impression that travel is always idyllic.
I’m guilty of it myself. My Instagram gallery is full of stunning sunsets, amazing vistas and epic cityscapes. And some people might conclude that my life is one big perfect travelling bubble. But an important thing to remember is that we only show the side of our lives we really want people to see. Social media is selective.
For example, I didn’t post about that missed flight in Australia or the time I got really sick while travelling solo in Paris. And you didn’t hear about the night our campervan almost ran out of fuel in the middle of the Australian rainforest. Or the time I got blistering sunburn in Africa!
Despite the photos we see online, travel is rarely ever perfect. There will always be a few lumps and bumps in the road, just like there are in our normal everyday lives. But for every bad travel experience, there are ten outstanding, spine-tingling, life-loving moments to counteract it.
The truth is, most of us use social media as a form of escapism. Maybe I should show the imperfect side to travel more often; the slips, trips, blunders and errors. But do you really want to see me stranded at an airport in floods of tears because I missed a flight or covered in blisters because I spent too long in the sun? I think not! We show the pretty parts of our lives because that’s what people want to see and those are the bits we want to show. After all, I aim to inspire people to travel, not put them off because of the odd negative experience.
But I do believe we should be more transparent and authentic when it comes to discussing travel. The danger is that we start to compare our own lives and experiences to those beautifully polished shots we see on Instagram. The truth? Those beautifully polished moments are just that…polished. We do not hike mountains in red floaty dresses and sometimes bad things happen! Behind the Instagram accounts that we all adore, there are real people with real problems, just like you and I.
But, I’m not here to complain about my lot in life. Far from it, in fact. I’m grateful for the experiences and adventures that fill my life. Even when things don’t turn out the way I expected. Because, honestly, as cliche as it sounds, I think every experience makes you stronger. You realise that you’re made of hard stuff and can cope even when you’re dealt a bad hand.
So, what I’m really trying to say is this > Don’t compare yourself to the staged photos on Instagram. Realise that life is rarely ever a bed of roses, even when travelling the world. But don’t let the fear of negative experiences stop you from doing what you love. Rather than feeling envious of the glamorous lives of others, let them inspire you to live your own glamorous life, despite the hardships that come along the way.
Do you find social media causes you to compare yourself to others? Tell me how you feel in the comments below!