I love me a bit of Instagram, but I also love me a bit of truth. I feel like it’s very easy to get sucked into the #FOMO caused by social media. I’m very aware that I’m only showing and seeing the highlight reel, not the full story. So, here I thought I’d share the truth behind my Instagram photos.
There’s no ‘big reveal’ here – I’m pretty upfront about my experiences travelling, that I’m a serial user of filters (no #NoFilter here!) and I use an editing app to make my photos pretty. Because duh – I’m no professional photographer and I don’t have a big fancy camera.
So, here’s the truth behind my Instagram photos:
Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
It rained all day. All the walking paths were closed, so I couldn’t walk or hike between the villages and I got soaked. Manarola was the fourth Cinque Terre stop of the day and the skies had *just* begun to clear, thank goodness!
For the third village, Corniglia, I had to take off my shoes and socks and wade in water that went up above my knees, it was so flooded.
I really enjoyed visiting Qatar, even though I was only in the city for a brief visit on a layover with Qatar Airways. I had 20 hours to spend in Doha, though I was really tired and pretty emotional after leaving Hong Kong for good.
Rob and I couldn’t get a hotel room to sleep in because we aren’t married. Plus, there are no luggage lockers in the airport Arrivals Hall. So, I spent 20 hours in Doha with 10kg of a backpack on my back.
The souq was gorgeous and I wanted to buy everything, but it was so frustrating because I literally had no luggage space and also no money! All the more reason to go back one day?
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
You might think I’m turning away from the camera because I think I look sexy. To the contrary, I’m just sparing you from my sunburned, peeling, sweaty face.
Lovina, Bali, Indonesia
Watching these dolphins jump out of the water at sunrise was a beautiful experience, but one I’m not sure I’d recommend. There were around 50 boats literally chasing the animals, filled with tourists with phones and cameras ready. I took this short clip to remember and then put my phone away to enjoy the moment.
I couldn’t find any information about whether this is actually harmful to the wildlife, but it made me feel uncomfortable.
Also, as part of the tour I was picked up from my hostel on a scooter and I burnt my leg on the exhaust pipe, which really spoilt my trip. It meant I couldn’t surf and that was exactly what I had come to Bali to do, so I was super-pissed.
Lovina, Bali, Indonesia
I absolutely loved staying in this little jungle tree house at Santhika Bed & Breakfast, which was literally a little bed and those curtains. However, for all it’s prettiness, there were downsides. There was no air con or room for a fan, so it got hot very quickly, and there was no protection from noise.
The couple who owned the hostel, who were lovely, had a baby with a working set of lungs. There was also a funeral taking place at the local mosque, so there was singing and chanting over the loudspeaker both evenings I stayed there until gone midnight.
As lovely a bedroom as it was, I didn’t get much sleep in it!
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Oh my god, I was so ruined (get it?) from my real life temple run around Angkor the previous day that I could literally do nothing. It was effort enough to get out of bed and I only did that because the electricity shut off at my hostel during the day.
I went to the most hipster cafe I could find in Siem Reap and sat there for about 10 hours, reading my book, sipping on this ridiculous hipster coffee and eating hipster food like smashed avo on toast. I felt absolutely wrecked.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Speaking of Angkor, here is my photo of Angkor Wat at sunrise. What you don’t see (or really, can kinda see) is that this place is super-crowded. The sunrise may be beautiful, but you will literally be enjoying it with thousands and thousands of other tourists.
Vang Vieng, Laos
Vang Vieng was another place that I visited for natural beauty, not realising just how touristy the place was. That includes the Blue Lagoon, which was absolutely packed when I arrived. The crowd was mostly Korean tourists in life jackets and western girls in thong bikinis.
Luckily, they all packed up on their tours after 5pm, so I was finally able to get this picture, with less than a hundred people in it.
After being apart for the summer, Rob booked us both a weekend stay at the luxurious Sheraton Grand Macau Hotel in Macau. It was a lovely romantic gesture, except that we both got ill from a bug that was going round and spent most of the weekend in the hotel room watching crap on TV and being ill.
When we finally felt well enough to use the pool, it was cloudy and rainy and actually quite cold. Hence why we had it all to ourselves!
When one of my best friends came to visit me in HK, we had to do the Big Buddha. Of course, the best way the get there is by cable car. I don’t really need to explain what the weather was like, but what’s not pictured in this image is the fear on our faces as the cars swung and creaked in the wind…
The truth is I have absolutely no idea why this man is dressed as a centaur-unicorn and it’s driving me crazy.
The truth about my Instagram photos
So, the truth is that I had an awesome time and I shared a picture. I love looking back over my Instagram feed because it reminds me of the adventures I’ve had and the places I’ve explored.
The danger is when we start comparing our lives to each others. Something that I know that I am definitely guilty of.
I’m not that girl with the perfect abs, who looks flawless posing on the beach. Neither am I wearing a maxi dress and an over-sized hat, trying too hard to look candid in some picturesque doorway. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if it’s what you want to do, but it’s just not me.
It’s good to remind ourselves (and to remind myself) that my life is not picture-perfect. Travelling is not picture-perfect. And that’s part of the reason why I love it. Something the stories and truth behind the photos are as interesting as the images themselves.
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