Travel Through Instagram: Thoughts on Comparison

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny Instagram’s world-wide popularity. I happen to love it. I love snapping pictures, and I love how Instagram can make beautiful Spain look even more beautiful. This is what gets to me: I was enjoying an overdue phone call with my best friend last night and she said something along the lines of, “We see the photos you post and we all say they are so beautiful. You’re living the life.” She knows about any problems I have had under the surface, but our talk got me thinking more about this.

Let me be straight. I do feel like I’m living the life. At the very least, I feel like my quality of life is “above average” right now. However, there’s more that isn’t seen through the highlighted, framed Instagram filter. Since I’ve arrived in Spain I’ve progressively hated watching my friends’ “lives” through Facebook, because so many posts are this way. This perception of someone’s “perfect life” filled with beautiful views, huge accomplishments, or life event (cough, cough–mass engagements-cough) can lead to comparison and even unhappiness. I just feel that people need a repeated reminder to remember there’s more than the exterior, myself included.

Looking oh-so-tan outside the walled city of Burgos

Looking oh-so-tan outside the walled city of Burgos

So to shine a light on Instagram effects, here I’ve posted some of my photos taken during my most recent trip to Burgos in Castilla y León. I had to travel there for a summer camp interview and my friend, Amanda, joined me because she hadn’t seen the city yet. It was a beautiful day: sunny, hot, but with an occasional cool breeze. We saw the Gothic cathedral, medieval castle, and Amanda tried a pinxto of the famous morcilla. First you’ll see my Instagram photo, and right after I put the unedited photo so you can see the comparison yourself. I’ll let you judge for yourself if Instagram warps the picture a little bit!

Instagram

Instagram

Actual Photo

Actual Photo

Instagram

Instagram

Actual Photo

Actual Photo

Instagram

Instagram

Actual Photo

Actual Photo

Instagram

Instagram

Actual Photo

Actual Photo

I don’t really have anything negative to say about that day… but just to prove a point I’ll tell you some of the “unpictured” incidents. In the photo of us in front of the cathedral you don’t see the six other pictures taken by an off-beat man who couldn’t keep the photo straight or our entire bodies in the frame. In the last photo I look happy and relaxed (and tan!), but really I was disappointed in how my interview had just ended and anxious about what would happen if that job didn’t line up.

After this rambling, I still have to admit I contribute to and eat up this social media paradigm. It can feel good to see that people like what you’re doing and even envy you. However, I think it’s 100% necessary to remember the effect that this can have on you. In my opinion, there’s a fine line between the “healthy” use and crossing into narcissism, insecurity, strained relationships, and unhappiness. No one wants to suffer from Selfie Syndrome, right?! ‘Cause supposedly that’s a thing now…

Just keep doin’ you, guys! Wherever you’re at in your life, remember it’s your journey. There’s no need to compare yourself to someone else because they seem to have it all. Take social media with a grain of salt.

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