If you’ve been around here for a while, you might know that we went to Italy for about 10 days in September for our honeymoon. You might not have noticed at all though and I don’t blame you. For someone who shares their life on social media and a blog, for someone who lists travel and taking photos as hobbies, I’ve been so uninspired to share anything about our trip. Yes, I’m finally starting to share blog posts about our time in Italy, but I was dragging my feet for months when it came to even thinking about our honeymoon. But I’m finally ready to come clean about why I’ve only posted a handful of photos on Instagram and why it took me about six months to start looking through the literally thousands of photos I took or even think about trying to recap our trip in any form for even my own benefit.
We had a really wonderful week and a half in Italy and we are really lucky that we were able to take that trip thanks to saving for it (would definitely recommend a delayed honeymoon) and getting the time off work. I 100% know that. But there were a lot of things about our trip that failed to meet my expectations and there were a few things that down right sucked.
If I’m being completely honest, a lot of our trip was driven by my desire of wanting to get the perfect Insta. I was the actual embodiment of doing it for the ‘Gram. We booked five days on the Amalfi Coast and we were probably both over it by the end of the second day. I so badly wanted to go to all those villages hanging off the side of the mountains above the ocean and get the photo that all the other girls on Instagram have. And in a lot of ways, that kind of ruined my trip.
The Amalfi Coast and Capri are beautiful parts of the world. They’re so picturesque and absolutely breathtaking in real life. But that whole idea of wandering around in a flowy maxi dress, the perfect straw hat, and pretty much any shoe other than sneakers is the definition of Instagram BS. They’re completely overrated for what Instagram has turned them into and I don’t really want to contribute to that façade of Instagrammable destinations anymore. And by the way, those places are so beautiful because they’re built into mountains. If you want to go somewhere, you have to H I K E there. You’re sweating your face off even at the end of September and bumping into strangers who are probably sweatier than you. It’s not relaxing. It’s not picture-perfect. It’s probably not very hygienic.
At the end of the trip, we spent three days in Rome and absolutely fell in love with the city. I would go back to Rome for a month right now if I could. There were some things that went totally wrong in Rome too and I know that’s just a part of travelling, especially to a foreign country. But our time there was exponentially more enjoyable. Looking back, we both wish we had switched those blocks of the trip around: three days on the Coast, five days in Rome. (Just an FYI that will forever be my recommendation if you ever ask me for Italy tips.)
I think in the time that has passed since our trip, I’ve almost tried to put it out of my mind. I’m discovering that I feel guilty AF for prioritising our trip around a freaking app on my phone and some double taps from friends and strangers alike.
Since I’ve started going through the photos for my blog posts, particularly from Capri and the Amalfi Coast, a lot of happy, beautiful memories have come flooding back and all I can do about the rest is laugh. Italy was a dream we both had for so many years and I was really stupid to waste it. To, at times, focus more on getting likes or being reposted than on celebrating my marriage and exploring the beautiful country that invented pasta!
Italy has been a huge wake up call for me in so many ways. Even since our trip, I’ve found myself pinning blog posts titled “The Best Instagram Spots in Paris” or “The Most Instagrammable Cafes in London” and I’ve got to stop. It’s no secret that Instagram promotes a picture-perfect, care-free life and I’m literally exhausted from contributing to that. I’ve moved to a new country that’s rich in history, with buildings that are older that America, that provides easy access to a whole other continent full of the same. I want to live my life and experience those things wholly rather than choosing where we go on holiday because of a trip I saw an influencer take through a handful of squares on an app. I want to learn about other cultures, other cuisines, other languages rather than use foreign countries for a photoshoot backdrop. I’m really lucky that Luke and I both get so much paid annual leave and have the means to travel and it would be such a shame if I look back on my life and see that I did it all for the ‘Gram and not for myself or for my family.
This year, Luke and I aren’t planning any big trips, but are hoping to do smaller trips throughout Europe over long weekends. This year, I want to travel for the right reasons. I don’t want to go somewhere just because it’s Instagrammable. I don’t want to get more caught up in curating the perfect image to share online than actually taking in the beauty and history around me. I don’t want to plan my trip around my blog posts. I want to travel because we love to travel. I want to experience the world without a filter. I want to live in the moment instead of online.
And in between trips, I want to fill my Instagram feed with influencers who influence me to be this better version of myself. I want to follow travel bloggers/Instagrammers who take time to learn about the place they’re visiting and share in that history with their followers. I’m not interested in little squares photoshopped to perfection to show off a cute outfit or comped five star accommodations and to be #goals. The trade off of unrealistic exceptions for thousands of likes or even going viral simply isn’t worth it. It has created a toxic environment online and in people’s realities and I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.
I’m not deleting Instagram, at least not now anyway. (I’ve seriously been considering it a lot lately.) But I want to commit to being more real on the app. I know I’ve said this before about being vulnerable and honest, but I never took the time to consider how that translates to my travels and what I share from my travels or how I share it. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to travel as much as possible literally so I can impress people back in the States because I’m OMG So European, but I’m done with that. It’s translated to a lot of anxiety when we’re not travelling, which is the overwhelming majority of the time. The reality is we’re not rich, we spend a heck of a lot more time sitting on the couch watching Netflix than jetsetting across Europe and it’s high time I be more real about that.