15 November 2018

BALI — an Instagrammer's paradise (or is it?)

Oh Bali! The Instagram destination of 2018. An Instagrammer paradise. But is it all that pretty and edited?

I never thought I would go to Bali this soon. It always felt like a distant trip. But I'm so lucky to have a father that does business with the Asian countries, being Indonesia one of them.

It's weird how I've always heard of Bali from my Dad, but never really knew what it meant... until Instagram came along. The raw nature, the clear water, the peaceful religion, the coffee shops. Everything you would want on a tiny island.

Summer of 2018 was the year to visit this unknown-known destination.

The thing with traveling accounts on Instagram and the actual traveling is quite a mind trick. When you're scrolling down on your feed filled with travel couple accounts, top destinations and so on, you can get a feeling that, after a long time seeing the same destination over and over, you already know what to expect there.

You are aware of the tourist traps, you have saved a few insta façades of the places, and you know exactly where to have the best pancakes in town. 

In a way, it facilitates A LOT on your destination research or even on your cluelessness when getting to some place. BUT THE THING IS... nothing is truly a surprise, nothing is new to you. For me, when I get to an Instagram place, on the one hand I'm happy to have found it, but one the other I feel some kind of familiarity on a place I've never been to. It takes out the element of surprise, and in some cases, it disappoints us — because we're headed there with this idea that it's an amazing place, really bright and colourful and with no one there, and once you get to the place you see that it is dull and crowded.

That's my thought on Instagrammble destinations...

Somewhat, it describes my trip to Bali. I knew everything that I wanted to see, and I was aware of the pretty perfect picture of Bali, but I was not prepared for what was outside of the frame.

The smells, the (spicy and mushy) food, the crowds, the telephone wires hanging everywhere, the traffic jam, the amount of hours it takes you to get to the other side of the island because there's no highway.

But also I wasn't prepare for the extreme caring trait of the Indonesians in Bali — they are always happy to see you, to serve you —, for the amazing coffee shops developed by foreigners, for the vast raw nature you have in the middle of the island, for the adjacent islands that have the most clear water I've seen, for the freshly harvest young coconuts (they're so delicious!). 

It was a true culture clash. I've never been outside of Europe and North America, and to see such poverty and extreme luxury together is... upsetting. Plus the whole edited version versus the real version of a destination... just unreal.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Instagram ruins the true experience of traveling?

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