When we were in the Greek Islands last month, I had an epiphany. In one of the most beautiful locations in the world with the bejewelled Mediterranean Sea, and quintessential whitewashed walls with blue domed roof architecture, I was struck by the crowds it attracted in the thousands. From down below, masses of sea slugs (also known as cruise ships), congregated, ferrying tourists up the perfect clifftops to towns such as Oia, overlooking the caldera. And this was in addition to the tourists that were already staying on the island.
It’s not the numbers that bothered me so much, although they did a tiny bit, it was their behaviour that lead me to my moment of enlightenment. As we walked through the beautiful cobbled stoned streets, window shopping in the charming boutiques, I came to realise that the vast majority of people (me included on occasion), were plastered to their phones taking pictures of their surroundings. I’d never seen anything like it – shoulder to shoulder with their noses pressed against their screens capturing the exquisite surroundings before them, without the ability to put them down and take in the moment in the present. Let me summarise the scene that lay before me – do you remember the video game Lemmings? I was literally surrounded by them. The lack of spatial awareness was unreal – people walking into each other left, right and centre. But don’t worry; I’m sure they got the perfect shot!
Back at our hotel, down by the pool, I peered over at a villa next to us where I saw two beautiful girls in their early 20’s. Their villa was gorgeous, and they were seemingly perfect, about to feast on a most splendid breakfast spread. Or were they?? Ah no, after watching them flirt with their food for the best part of an hour and never once digesting any of it, I soon realised they were bloggers who were probably creating incredible Instagramable pictures. Everywhere I looked, there was another blogger trying to get the shot.
On another occasion, we were having some sundown drinks on our balcony, appreciating the magnificence of the view before us, when a buzzing drone rudely interrupted the moment (and our privacy I might add).
I couldn’t help but think, have we all gone virtually mad? In the words of Jay Kay, are we living in a world of “virtual insanity”? Do we all now all fancy ourselves as “influencers”? Are we in danger of missing the moment that is life in our efforts to share our prosthetic lives with others?
And herein was the moment when I thought to myself, I do love travelling and blogging, but what kind of blogger do I really want to be?
I knew, having seen so much of it over the last week, that there were certain things I didn’t want to be, and the more I thought about it, I realised I could summarise what I didn’t want to be in one word: unrelatable. I didn’t want to mislead my followers with promises only of perfection. I wanted to be authentic, and share real moments from my travels with them, ones that they could recreate for themselves. This meant being honest to myself – sometimes I won’t get the shot, or, it won’t be perfect, but this is real. In the quest for reality, I feel like we’ve fallen short and seek manufactured perfection.
As such, I want to make it clear to you that I am a real person without a team of professionals around me helping me to create content to share with you. I am like you, I use my iPhone to take pictures and shoot videos. Occasionally I edit my pictures to make them clearer, but it is rare that I apply filters (though I’m not saying never. I’m like you, I do it occasionally). With my vlogs, I don’t enhance the footage at all. I use programmes and apps that are available to everyone; I don’t use a professional suite. I try to capture real moments and beauty that I think you will enjoy because I do. Sometimes I get it right and other times I get it wrong. But I do because I love travelling and think the world is such a wonderful place, and that we should share our knowledge and experiences with others. If I can inspire one person to visit somewhere that I have been so they can experience it for themselves, then I feel like I have achieved something. And equally, I look to other travel lovers to inspire me.
As I grow on this journey, I am committed to being honest with my personal brand and enjoying this incredible journey we are all on and sharing special moments from my travels with you. I do hope that you will continue to join me, enjoying the content that I create, my anecdotes and travel tips. Let’s go exploring and have some real adventures together 😊
Until next time, safe travels.
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**I endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image I use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org