The Hidden Side of Travelling

The pictures don’t tell the full story

Photo by Lelia Milaya 🌿 on Reshot

Travelling is not what it seems.

I’m sure you’ve all seen Instagram profiles that are an endless stream of idyllic looking photos of exotic locations.

The people in these photos are always smiling. They appear to have no cares whatsoever.

They appear to be having a great time. To an outsider, it seems like they have an ideal life.

It’s simply not true.

If I’ve learnt anything from travelling for the past 5 years, it’s that travelling is hard. Really hard. It’s never how it appears in the photos.

They are just a snapshot of a second in time. They don’t capture what happens on a daily basis. That remains hidden behind the lens.

If it did, the picture it painted would be markedly different from what you find on social media.

What’s hidden?

As a travel blogger, I’m guilty of romanticising travel.

I love to implore people to go and explore the world. We are only on this Earth once, it would be a waste not to explore more of this beautiful planet we call home.

However, what I say is only half-true.

Yes, travelling is incredible. I am a much better person for travelling. I wouldn’t trade in my experiences over the past five years for anything.

But, what I, and others, portray on social media is only telling part of the story.

The reality of travelling is strikingly different. Especially, if you are on a working holiday in a country such as Australia or New Zealand.

You don’t wake up every day with boundless energy, ready to explore new places in the sunshine.

You might feel that way some of the time, but never all of the time.

What you don’t see is the daily struggle of motivating yourself to go and explore new places simply because you feel like you have to!

There are days where I really can’t be bothered to do anything. I would happily stay in my hostel all day, reading a book, or watching a few films.

But, because you’ve travelled all this way, you feel you have a responsibility to go out and explore.

The reality

Travelling is a lot like anything else in life. There are days when you’re up for it and nothing can stop you. There are days when you feel so-so, but you force yourself to get things done. And, there are days when you can’t be bothered doing anything.

None of the above changes when you go travelling.

There is no button you press that changes your mindset simply because you’re on the road. Travelling is simply not as glamorous as it’s portrayed on social media.

If you’re travelling by car, you can spend hours upon hours driving to get to your destination.

If you’re hiking, you could spend hours slogging through, mud, rain, and even blistering heat, to reach a certain viewpoint.

Then, there are the days where you just lay about all day in the hostel doing nothing.

Those days are more common than you might think. If you’re staying somewhere for a lengthy period, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to get out and about if you’ve already seen everything.

You’re also constantly in a state of flux.

If you’re travelling solo, you’ll be meeting and saying goodbye to people constantly. This is emotionally draining.

You make friends quicker on the road. You kind of have to, as most of the time, these new friends leave your life as quickly as they entered it.

After you’ve met 100 different people, and said goodbye to a similar number, sometimes, you just don’t want to make the effort to meet people anywhere.

You just want to retire to your bed. Listen to music, watch a film, and have some alone time.

Remember

Social media is a blurred lens. We don’t see the whole picture, we only see what we are shown. A warped perspective.

Next time you open your Instagram feed and see all the gorgeous shots filling up your feed. Just remember, they’re only telling half of the story!

I like to write. I like to travel. https://www.thetravellingtom.com Join my email list -> https://tomstevenson.substack.com/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store