I inspired to write this post after Essena O’Neil went viral about how social media isn’t real life rant. In the video she talks about how much her photos were edited and how she was paid to do such and such. Personally, I think the girl is a big, fat liar for creating a website, taking it down, then using the money to write a book on how to be an Instagram star. I think she felt like a phoney because she is one. Anyway, I digress.
In today’s world, travel blogging is becoming incredibly competitive. With dozens of amazing travel bloggers out there like Nomadic Matt, Hey Nadine, and Arzo Travels, it can be discouraging to try to compete. As we move our lives completely online, we try to promote this perfect version of our day to day, how do you distinguish what’s real and what’s not?
I feel social media is a snippet of real life and my friends Kyle and Makenna Gott are great examples. They are 100% no bs and you do see what goes on in their daily lives from day to day. Their Instagram accounts are also real-time and I don’t see why people think putting your life on social media isn’t what really goes down beyond the camera. My life is my own and the life I live is real even if it’s only a portion.
Do I do some editing on my photos? Of course I do. Do I get rid of pimples or blemishes? Of course! There’s nothing like a pimple to ruin your shot (and day). Besides, almost every girl is guilty of it. In addition, I make my images sharper so it shows clearly on a phone or computer screen, I boost the colors a bit so it’s like you were actually there seeing the vibrant colors yourself. As advanced as cameras have become, they still don’t quite capture the essence of actually being there. Do I do much else? Nope. Here’s the “terrible truth” behind my top six Instagram posts.
Windblown at the beach
I really adore this image because it was taken on Sesoko Island, Okinawa and it brings back wonderful memories of the time my family visited me. My mom and my sister were vacationing from the states and we took an impromptu side trek after delicious hamburgers at Captain Kangaroo. We were on our way to the Churaumi Aquarium to see some awesome whale sharks when my mom felt adventurous and said we should be spontaneous. Us ladies walked along the mostly deserted white sand beaches and collected shells. My baby sister snapped this photo of me for fun and I think she did a pretty great job.
Climbing Fushimi Inari
This shot was taken in Kyoto, Japan. I chose to climb these stairs because I had never made it all the way up my first time. As you can tell from the first photo, I really loved this dress and couldn’t wait to pose in it again at this beautiful, historic place used in Memoirs of a Geisha. Everyone in Japan dresses up in their finest, be it kimono, yukata, or a cute dress accompanied by heels. The day was hot, but nothing could deter me from feeling my best in my favorite dress.
Jumping at Osaka Castle
The most cliche of Instagram shots but also a favorite, this super fun jump shot was taken by my baby sister in front of the Osaka Castle in Osaka, Japan. I think my sweetums (nickname for my sister) should be a photographer sometime, don’t you? Anyway, we were goofing off in front of the castle trying to get the perfect jump shot. I enjoyed making myself and others laugh with our silly antics, and that’s what matters.
Boho Queen at Gay Pride
This was taken by my friend PatMax Adventures when we attended Gay Pride together. I’m a huge supporter of LGBTQ rights and I walked in the parade, spread the love, and even met the ambassador to the USA (who’s a pretty cool guy and still loves Korea despite an attempt on his life). I was nothing but smiles and feeling pretty on this amazing rainbow unicorn float. It doesn’t get better than that.
Pensive in the Flowers
I love, love, love this image! My boyfriend Aaron took this photo of me as we went on an azalea spring date to a mountainside completely covered in these vibrant flowers. There were loads of people there, but we expected it! We waited a bit for others to take photos at this bench, but Aaron had a great time posing me and I loved spending time with him. Bonus: we even got to sit on the bench and enjoy all the flowers for as long as we pleased.
Cheesin in Wulai
If you think I look a bit derpy here with my peace sign, you’re totally right! It was my first time to Taiwan and I was so excited to see things I had never seen before. My friend snapped this photo of me in front of a temple in Wulai, Taiwan and I was about to begin my first hiking adventure.
You want to know why my photos are perfect? It’s because they were taken in the moment no matter their imperfections. A picture is a moment completely frozen in time. It’s a thing we can have to recall memories. Instagram is real life because it’s there, it happened, and it happened to the person who took or is in the photo.