It’s been a tough year where I’ve had to dial back on a lot of things in my life — including this blog.
If I start to list them all, I’ll go into a why-didn’t-I-do-this?!? spiral for every little thing, so we’ll skip that entirely.
But I’ve noticed that whenever I’m at a less-than-happy place in my life, and I try to pinpoint what got me out of my funk, travel always plays a role in it.
Travel isn’t something that I take for granted. I’m not someone who got to go on fancy family vacations throughout my life — so as a quasi-adult, as soon as I was able to plan and fund my own adventures, I did. And for me, that has never meant looking for the most luxurious accommodations, or seeking out the most photo-worthy spots.
It means stepping outside of my comfort zone.
It means challenging myself, and growing in the process.
It means pushing myself to connect with people who, as a result, make me feel like I’ve known them my whole life rather than for the span of a few days’ adventure.
It means working harder to understand who I am, outside the context of where I am.
And yet, it’s harder to package those feelings and experiences than it is to find a cute wall and strike a pose. A fun picture is a language that everyone can understand.
It’s not that those little micro-seconds of happiness aren’t valid, or honest — I document my happiest moments because I want to remember them. But in the process of sharing a highlight reel, the end result is something that looks artificial compared to the real experience.
The highlights are not necessarily any less real — but they are just a small piece of it.
Throughout the summer, every time I wanted to share something while travelling, I just felt uncomfortable. As I said to a friend: if you spend the summer travelling without Instagramming, did it even really happen? But how could I actively post these glimpses of my best self — how could I create this digital collage of complete joy — when I was grappling with so many different feelings other than happiness?
If I shared my happiness, and instead of making someone else happy it made them feel lacking in their own life, wouldn’t that make me responsible?
If I posted a smiling picture of my day, and then woke up crying in the night from PTSD dreams, did that make me a liar?
On the other hand: why should sharing things I’ve done and places I’ve been make me feel like I’m misleading someone? What kind of bullshit imposter syndrome is that?
I think of all the times people have told me to my face that they love my content, or that we should travel together, and then behind my back the conversation becomes something more like: “who does she think she is?”
And I think of my own internal dialogue: who do I think I am?
And now I think none of that should matter, and I should just share what makes me happy.