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There it is, a shot of perfection of a traveller with a
wide-brimmed hat standing with her back to the camera, somewhere tropical with the
ocean touching her toes and the sunset caressing her locks and glowing on her
skin. There it is, a shot of perfection edited in muted pastel hues resembling
a palette of cotton candy, oozing a warm temperature with minimal contrast and
a deep caption synonymous with “live the life you’ve imagined” and an added
bonus, “my Lightroom presets are up for sale”.
You click on the profile and there it is, all of it.
A flawless, beautiful, cohesive and curated grid of pastel
colours alternating between pink undertones and blue shades.
One shot was taken in a massive sunken bathtub (nothing
short of fabulous) with gold taps and a view over a cosmopolitan city, and
another was taken somewhere in Africa while on safari. There’s a mosque, a
Buddhist temple, a beach, a rocky mountain, a jungle, a ‘follow me’ photo, an
ice cream held up high, a sponsored watch and a breakfast-moment with scones
and shiny teapots. And of course, the occasional drone shot that captured the
traveller floating on a body of water.
Before you know, dreamy photos in bubblegum milkshake
shades, whisk you off to worldwide destinations and luxurious locations.
Like. Comment. Follow.
Dream mode activated.
In your mind, behind your phone’s screen, you start yearning
for a vacation, an escape to place as idyllic as the ones painted on
Instafamous accounts; you build sandcastles around the luxurious hotels with alluring
views, around the isolated backdrops and jetting off to unknown locations.
Like. Comment. Follow.
Filtered fantasies engaged and unrealistic expectations set
while reality, responsibility and financial circumstances yank you back to your
Dislike. Sad. Miserable.
Convinced of something else.
Convinced that you won’t be able to afford a plane ticket or
a luxurious hotel. Convinced that you’ll never see an alluring view or find an
isolated backdrop and get to explore unknown locations.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat; friends doing this,
strangers doing that.
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So defeated by the hues of picture-perfect candy floss portraits
and bubblegum milkshake landscapes that you didn’t realise that the
advertisement for something – edited in
moderate tones – was in fact a guesthouse or an experience right on your
doorstep. So frustrated after comparing your financial situation to a
globetrotter’s curated gallery that you didn’t realise a local getaway can be
just as idyllic, but more affordable. So crushed by subliminal travel goals
that it becomes all or nothing; if you can’t go there, why explore here?
But yet you scroll.
Scroll, compare, click, like and dream.
Day in and day out.
We live a life of addiction in fiction-lead fantasies,
scroll, scroll, scroll, disconnected from our people and our immediate
environment as we scroll, scroll, scroll; as soon as we wake up, while in
conversation with a friend, on the toilet, in traffic, at the dinner table and
right before we go to bed.
Is social media creating unrealistic travel goals?
Are the visually stimulating curated grids of luxury
influencing our dreams and forcing us to live above our means? Does the
constant exposure to the rose-tinted version of paradise leave us unsatisfied
with our own way of living? Is our idea of a happy content life shaped by the
online portrayal of only the exciting portion of someone’s life? Are we shamed
by the glamour, a specific way to look and the 8 million search results for
“how to quit your job and travel the world”?
Is that perfect shot of a sunset in the Maasai Mara and a
girl with a floral dress making us yearn for a trip to Africa and blocking our
ability to dream of a local safari experience instead? Is that glamorous villa
and infinity pool in Bali pushing us over the edge of financial woes and
putting an immediate stop to our dreams without looking for more affordable options? Is the sea of curated images making us float
in an empty tub of self-worth? Is the latest fashion trend captured among the
ruins of Greece subconsciously guiding us onto the path of someone else’s
footsteps, someone else’s someone else’s story, someone else’s reality?
95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram per day.
Right now someone is uploading a photo.
Right now someone is getting paid to upload a photo.
Right now someone is refreshing their feed.
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Stop living vicariously through someone else; live the life
of YOUR dreams – be it Ballito or Bali - live the life YOU have imagined.
SEE: 11 Unusual travel words to inspire wanderlust... kind of