Travel Blogging: Keeping it Real

Posted on May 19, 2014

As I write this, I am sitting in a little house in a small mountain village in Cyprus.

It’s made of concrete, has curtains from the Seventies but it’s cozy and there’s something magical about being so far away from everything.

There is no concierge, gourmet buffet or olympic swimming pool framed with palms. There will be no hot dog leg shots to induce envy among my various social media followers.

Because I didn’t come here to recreate a double-page photo spread in Cond√© Nast Traveler, I came here to experience village life on a small island off the coast of Turkey.

Much of the travel we see nowadays through blogs, social media and photo sharing sites, has started to resemble more and more the glossy tourist brochure and less the real life experience.

Instagram has given birth to the stunning sepia-toned images of Parisian bistros and beachside views of the Mediterranean.

Travel, it seems, has morphed into another way to perfect one’s social image. The same way we carefully curate our social media presence, we are beginning to curate what people see of our travel experiences.

That terrible trip through the back alleys of Rome where you stepped in dog crap and got ripped off by a street hawker? Let’s skip that and post a photo of the expensive Italian coffee you enjoyed on one of the city’s outdoor terraces.

Explorative travel, by its very nature, is sweaty, stressful and tiring. But therein lies it’s charm.

Travel should challenge you and open your eyes to different ways of thinking and living. It should not be polished beyond recognition to best resemble a sterilized magazine feature.

Next time you’re ready to post that gushing travel piece or indulgent trip photo, see if it has merit beyond plain bragging rites:

  • Does it give an insight to local life?
  • Does it touch on a interesting custom or aspect of the culture?
  • How did the experience make you feel or reflect on the trip?
  • Was there anything you learnt about the location that you didn’t know before?
  • Was there a particular interaction or conversation that touched you?

I think we need to stop treating travel as a tool to induce envy among friends and instead see it as a way to share the beauty of a new experience.

It is not simply about the destination, but what you discover when you get there.

photo credit: Dave_B_ via photopin cc

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