Real Life Or Just For Likes?

No one knew what I went through to get this photo.
10/19/2017 09:50 pm ET Updated Oct 19, 2017

“Doin’ it for the Insta” has become my motto... especially after starting a blog.  The places I go, way I dress and even things I eat are dictated by how good of an Instagram picture they will make.  Taking a good picture makes me really happy and makes me enjoy the moment I’m in a little more. 

It sounds insane.  But it’s the way that so many of us millennials think.  

And even if the moment the picture was taken wasn’t glamorous, you better believe that our Instagram post still will be. 

Here’s an example:

Yesterday my friend Kaitlyn and I decided to rent motor bikes in Thailand to go find a cool waterfall.  Within the first five minutes, Kaitlyn had fallen off the bike... twice. So we decided to take the motor bikes back and get bicycles instead.  What we didn’t realize was that we would be riding/walking our bicycles up a huge hill for 45 minutes to get to the waterfall we wanted to go check out.  As motor bikes continually flew past us, we joked that we should have just risked death on the scooters.  Once we finally made it up the hill to a waterfall, we admired how beautiful it was and then naturally started taking pictures.  The water was freezing... But we pretended like it was perfect warm water and stripped down to our bathing suits.  We stood there waiting for a girl who was taking photos to leave so that we could get a picture with no one else in it.  I had Kaitlyn take pictures of me, I looked at them to see if my poses looked weird and asked her to take more with different lighting. Then I had round two of my photoshoot.  Then it was Kaitlyn’s turn.  Photoshoot round one.  Photoshoot round two.  She liked her photos, but I still didn’t have one that I loved, so I quickly had a photoshoot round three before people walked down to the waterfall.  God forbid there was another human in my Instagram photo.  Once we were happy with the pictures, we took a couple of selfies for snapchat and headed back to town.  Later that day (at a planned time that will get me the most likes), I posted my glamorous waterfall picture of my perfect relaxing day in Thailand. 

No one knew what I went through to get this photo.  No one knew how many photos we took to get the perfect shot.  This is only a small portion of them.

But I want my Instagram photos to look like my life is this amazing perfect dream world.

Guess what?

It’s not. 

My life is long bike rides uphill in the heat.  My life is free crackers from the hostel, because I don’t want to spend money on food.  My life is buses that break down and take eight extra hours to get to our destination.  My life is using toilets with no toilet paper.  My life is a crazy series of events that all bring me joy in one way or another, but my life is not all glamorous. 

But yet I still only show people some set up picture that literally was constructed for the Insta.

Why?  Why are my Instagram posts so important and why do I go out of my way to set up the perfect photo?  

Well the first thing that comes to mind is that I want to inspire people to travel.  Hopefully my beautiful pictures will make other people want to go see the world.  I want to help people find ways to travel on a budget and live the life they want!  The people who get noticed and have a bigger impact are the ones that take the glamorous photos.  

But maybe there's more.  Is that the only reason I care so much about the pictures I post on social media?  Probably not. 

Social media ends up being a lot like a competition.  I want to make sure that everyone knows how cool my life is and how many beautiful places I've been and how fun I am to be around.  I want more people to read my blog.  I want more followers.  I want more likes.

And it's crazy and addicting because it works.  Because of social media more people want to hang out with me.  Cute boys message me and want to travel with me.  People introduce me to their friends in a way that makes me seem like a super star.  And honestly I love the attention I get because of it.

I want people to know that there are so many hard parts of traveling and it often is not glamorous, but I can't seem to post those moments on my holy Instagram page. Who wants to see the moments that aren't picture perfect?  

I want to be an authentic traveler who shares what really happens when you're not posing for Instagram.  But I also really enjoy taking aesthetically pleasing pictures because it helps me remember the moment in a more beautiful way.  

No matter if it was real life or just for the likes, no one's life is perfect...no matter how perfect their Instagram photos are.

Check out the glamorous side of my life here :p

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