Online vs Reality.

The two are rather different in my case, and I would hazard a guess that its not so different for many other travel bloggers, especially those who choose to do this blogging gig alongside a full time job.

I’m not saying I’m a different person entirely, but I’m just putting it out there that maybe the life which I portray online, and especially on Instagram, isn’t all that accurate when vs my REAL life.

packsandbunks_full_reality

With Instagram though, I use it to promote my travelling and this blog, not to promote me as an individual and my life as a whole, but I am certainly aware that my Instagram account only captures maybe 15-20% of what I really get up to from day to day.  In some cases it even contains snapshots of events that occurred in the past … and all in the name of likes and followers.

Truth is, I’m more likely to be in front of my work laptop, doing laundry, hoovering, down the local pub with my mates, playing football, researching keywords for blog posts, editing photos or indulging in a Walking Dead binge with my better half, than on the road exploring the globe.

Doing the maths – I get some 26 days annual leave a year, plus I purchased an additional 5 days this year, plus I get 8 bank holidays on top of that, then of course I have my weekends –   I have roughly 145 (ish) days a year to play with in terms of travel.  That’s roughly 39% of my year, not bad!

But …

But then there is the cost of travel.  Having 145 days a year to potentially travel is great, but on top of that I have a mortgage, bills, food to buy etc.  Sadly not everything I spend my money on can be travel related.  Then add in weddings, christenings, birthdays etc and all of a sudden the number of days upon which I can travel are reduced, not that I begrudge being invited to weddings, christening and birthdays.

All in all, I think that if my Instagram were to represent my real life, maybe 1 or 2 in 9 (at most) of the photos on my account would be of travel.

Travel bloggers talk a lot about being open with readers.  Open and honest when it comes to reviews, experiences, specific trips, and even working with brands.  It is considered (preached as) best practice to be totally transparent when travel blogging, but are we really being transparent if we ONLY talk about the travel part?  Travel is only one part of life right?  Are the other parts of life blog worthy?

How I might appear online

  • On a beach somewhere in the Med, sipping on an ice cold beer
  • Snowboarding the mountains overlooking Lake Bled in Slovenia
  • Exploring a quaint, cobbled street of Splits old town
  • Capturing street art on a London walking tour
  • Hiking through Grenadan rainforests
  • Munching on authentic pad thai in Thailand
  • Taking in epic views from the Eiffel Tower
  • Taking a ride through a bustling Bangkok in the back of a tuk tuk
  • Admiring the clouds from an airplane window seat
  • Spontaneously stopping off somewhere whilst in the midst of a Irish road trip

Real Life

  • Sitting in front of a laptop at work or in ANOTHER meeting
  • Household chores
  • Playing football / trying to keep vaguely fit
  • Watching football with my dad
  • Sitting in front of the TV with my better half
  • Sitting in front of the laptop at home (working on this blog … or watching YouTube)
  • Buying groceries at the supermarket
  • Heading out to dinner with friends and family
  • Filling up the car with incredibly expensive petrol
  • Putting the kettle on

Now lets get this straight, my ‘real’ life is FAR from terrible!  Miles away from it in fact.

I have family, friends, a best friend in the world who I live with and annoy the hell out of.  I have a job and therefore food on the table.  I have all my own teeth and access to medical care if I should need it. I have hobbies, and hobbies I invest in.  I pay to play football, to go to the cinema, to visit friends.  I have disposable income to do those things, and of course travel.  I probably don’t count my blessing enough, but writing all this down I realise I have things pretty damn good!

However, with all the above, and especially the job part and home living part comes elements of routine, of things that are required week in and week out, and this things may not be overly pleasant or fun.  Not something you would write home about and probably not parts of life that are considered Instagram worthy.

So here’s my question, is it my fault for not posting those types of pictures and therefore not showing that side of reality.  Or is it the reader/followers fault for not liking or wanting to see the REAL side of life, and only wanting to invest their time in the unicorns and rainbows of life.

When I say ‘fault’ what I mean is I personally find the media very ying and yang, black and white.  Everything is either awful or amazing.  There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground any more … the bit you might call real life is missing.

They say that Millennials are unhappy, depressed, and I wouldn’t disagree with that statement.  Life is hard!  But when you only see the pits of failure, or focus on a version of a life that is so (for the most part) unrealistic, how can you expect to be content and happy?  The rate at which we can access such information, or images in the case of Instagram, is also probably a factor … damn Iphone, I both love and hate you!

My top 9 Instagrams from 2015

packsandbunks_full

A more accurate collection

packsandbunks_full_reality

… just a slight difference between the two.

Lastly, I leave you with this, a tweet I saw over the weekend and I felt was very apt.  It rung a lot of bells with me.