My Instagram feed overflows on a daily basis with photos of incredibly beautiful locations and happy, carefree people living their best life. Or so it seems. While these photos may scream, “My life is amazing and I never have any problems,” I suspect that the reality is far different.
I suspect this because I have sometimes been guilty of misrepresenting myself.
While I’m not traveling all the time and I don’t have tons and tons of amazing photos to post on Instagram, I do like to share my photography there. I pick my best photos and do a little editing to make sure they look as good as possible. Then I post, showing the world of Instagram just a tiny highlight from my life.
What my photos don’t usually show are any negative emotions or hardships that may have been going on behind the scenes. They don’t usually show what was going through my head when I took the photo, or what was happening outside of the frame.
I’m not sure how much this matters. Part of me thinks that Instagram is a place purely for artistic and creative expression. The other part thinks that it is disingenuous to act as if that artistic expression accurately reflects reality.
So I thought I would share a few photos with you, and how I would caption them if I was being 100% honest on Instagram.
“I may look happy but moments before this was taken I was becoming unreasonably angry at my boyfriend for getting us lost (even though it wasn’t really his fault). I was also tired and worn out, and honestly I kind of just wanted to go home. It’s moments like these when I think travel really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
“This is where Thoreau wrote his most famous book, but I don’t actually care because I’ve never read it. I’m just here for the pretty fall colors.”
“I’m in Spain on my birthday and you would think I would be happy. But I’m worn out from traveling and I miss my family. I ended the day by eating a meal I didn’t really enjoy alone and then went to bed early.”
“I’ve gotten lost every single day of this trip and I’m honestly tired of it.”
“I didn’t actually want to go camping but I went because my friend wanted to and I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. But I have been in a bad mood this whole time. I want to appreciate the beauty of nature all around us but all I can think about is how much I want a good shower and to not have to eat breakfast in the cold.”
Looking back at those captions, it may seem like traveling is a huge pain in the butt and everyone on Instagram is lying to you. And honestly it is and a lot of them are.
But at the same time, travel is worth it. Even when I’m miserable I am still grateful for any opportunity I have to travel. And I still think that Instagram is a fun way to show off your photos and to gain inspiration for future travels. I just think it is important to keep in mind that not everything you see on Instagram reflects reality 100%.
I have bee trying to be more genuine on Instagram and share real stories and thoughts from my travels. So of that’s something you’re interested in seeing, I would love it if you would follow me on there!
What about you — how do you feel about Instagram? Do you ever feel like there is a problem with dishonesty on the platform? Or is it not a big deal? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!