I’ve been blogging for a long time now and my favourite thing about this crazy online world is the way The Travel Hack is basically my online travel journal and a place to store all of my precious travel memories. I often sit down at my laptop to do some work but end up reading through old blog posts and spend hours reliving incredible trips. It sounds a bit self obsessed to say I spend a lot of time reading my own travel blog but I do!
And then along came Instagram and this became an even easier and more accessible way for people to store their memories online. Winner winner.
My second favourite thing about blogging and Instagramming is the way it encourages me to do things that are out of my comfort zone. Yes, sometimes my main motivation to do something is so I can get a great photo or a funny story to share on my blog. Again, a controversial thing to admit but it’s true.
Would I have paid to climb 300 stairs in Warsaw for a view over the city (which I could see perfectly well from the ground) if I didn’t want to get an Instagram photo? Hells no.
Would I have scrambled across slippery rocks within a Welsh valley next to a river if I didn’t want a cute photo looking out across the water? No chance.
Would I have dangled my feet over a waterfall if I didn’t think it would look cool on the gram? Nope.
Would I have made Sam and George go and play in the sunshine in a perfectly lit spot in the forest if I didn’t think it would make an adorable photo?
Would Elle have floated around in this chilly rock pool looking like a mermaid goddess if I wasn’t standing there with a camera? Errr….yes she probably would have actually but I’m pretty sure she would have got out a lot faster!
There are lots of things I’ve done to get a nice photo or to showcase a place from a better viewpoint so you guys can see it at its very best.
When I first started blogging, I’d often think, ‘I haven’t posted anything for a week, I need to go out and do something fun so I have something to write about!’ Or I’d try to go somewhere different than just our local restaurant for dinner (again!) so I’d have a new place to add to my recommendations.
My blog is constantly forcing me to try new things and go new places.
Imagine if someone asked me for a holiday recommendation and I said, ‘Well, actually I haven’t been anywhere for a few years now so I don’t have any suggestions!’ I’d be out of a job.
When I go on press trips I’m often offered a choice of activities and I’m usually faced with the dilemma of spending an afternoon in the spa or an afternoon going on an adventurous hike or something fun and active. Yes, I could easily laze around a spa but that’s not going to make an interesting blog post, is it?! So I’ll opt for the adventurous hike and I’ll love it and I’ll get lots of nice photos and a great story and I’ll be so pleased I did it.
My blog has forced me out of my comfort zone so many times and I’ve done things I never dreamt I’d do. It’s not only the big things it’s forced me into (skydiving, I’m talking to you!) but little things like getting up to watch the sunrise because I know it’ll make a nice photo. Or going out at 7am because I know I’ll be able to get photos when the streets are quiet and peaceful.
And I honestly don’t think that’s a bad thing! In fact, I think it’s the best thing ever.
Last weekend it would have been so easy to stay in the house and do nothing. It was cold, wet and windy and I could have spent the day on the sofa in my PJs watching Disney films with the boys. But I’d been sent this babycarrier a few months ago and I knew I needed to get some nice photos of it to share on Instagram. (I’ve been using it at home but no one wants to see a selfie of me #babywearing in the local Co-Op!) So I gathered up the troops and all our warm clothes and rain gear and headed to the beach and we took some photos and had the best day. Yes, it was cold, wet and windy but we still had a lot of fun. And if it wasn’t for this photo, we definitely would have stayed at home!
Now I know there are people out there who take things way too far. People who will visit incredible monuments or ancient sites and they won’t give a shit about what’s in front of them. These people will grab a quick selfie or spend an hour taking the perfect shot with their Instagram husband before rushing away to find a decent WiFi connection to upload it. They’ll care more about their outfit and their lipstick then they will about the view in front of them. They won’t look around, they won’t talk to anyone, they won’t take the time to learn about their surroundings or appreciate the history behind that place. I think we can all agree that these people should just stay at home.
NOTE: I’m not one of those people who thinks you shouldn’t wear pretty clothes while you travel. Read more: Be so busy being awesome you don’t have time for all the criticism
I’m sure we’ve all read stories or heard about people doing things that are illegal or getting themselves into debt purely to buy expensive products to put on Instagram.
But in all walks of life you find people who should have stayed at home. No matter what you do there will be idiots and just because there are some idiots in the world it doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t enjoy it.
For a while now I’ve been feeling a bit weird and guilty about ‘doing things for the gram’. I found this incredible little glamping hut on Instagram that I’d love to go and visit but I scribbled it off my wishlist because I knew I only really wanted to go for the photo ops. But so what!? So what if the thing that first attracted me to this place was because it’s so pretty!? It’s not like I’m going to go and take some pretty pictures but have a horrible time. It’s also not like I’m going to go and take a quick photo and then go home!
So here’s to everyone who is doin’ it for the gram. To all the people who are getting out of their comfort zone, trying new things, going new places and being more adventurous. It’s for the people who might apply lipstick rather than lipbalm and consequently spend the day feeling like a freaking goddess. It’s for the people who go further and get up earlier and read more and listen more and try more. And yes, they might do it because it makes a great photo but I’m sure as hell they’ll have a great time in the process!