Yes, you read that right, we are well and truly in the thick of it. Never have we had so many options on how to travel and to where, or had the tech to take us there. I’m not just talking about Insta stories or Youtube, I mean the planes. Damn! Those things are so big now they are literally being called the beluga whale of planes! I can't quite believe they have been quietly in service since 1996 as freight planes though. What!?
I'm getting distracted, where was I? Oh, yes! Envying every gorgeous photo of somewhere exotic each time I open a magazine or open the internet.
Since it became popular to write about our holidays the market has grown to bursting point. We unintentionally boast of our fabulous hotels, mindlessly post photo after photo of our outfits against luxury backdrops, robotically give out advice that we barely take ourselves, and sometimes, just sometimes, we share our stories for the simple love of it.
Unfortunately, this last one occupies the smallest corner of the travel world as we all rush to get views and sponsors on our way to the top so we can become the next top blogger/ vlogger/ Insta success/ media marvel.
It makes my brain hurt just thinking about it and my heart heavy, for I am another person looking up to these people who have ‘made it’ and wishing for an inch of space amongst the jostle up on the metaphorical hill.
This is one unavoidable side effect brought on by the growth of the online travel industry; at some point we will all look at our person of choice, see how they have reached the top, and wish we could do what they do.
They make it look easy. It has to be the dream right? Earning money from making some videos, taking a few photos and spending the other 12 hours of the day doing little else but lazing on the beach ‘living the dream’.
Then we blink a few times, let our eyes focus back to our screen and see we are sat in our everyday surroundings, where nothing has altered. Our high rapidly deflates as quickly as the tide washing away from us, leaving us in our reality, and how far away that amazing lifestyle seems.
We feel crap.
Enter another time, another place. We open Insta, we rush for the upload of our favourite vlogger or crave the next blog post from our favourite explorer. In comes the high. We deep dive into their story and get our hit, we feel the envy, disguised as longing to go wherever they are, and immerse ourselves digitally. That’s as far as we can take it, right?
When out of the rabbit hole we feel the tide sweep away from us again, bringing us back to our same room, surrounded by the same boring schedule, and familiar faces.
We need our next hit.
You see how this becomes a draining cycle that only builds the envy in us? I know, I've been there. After way too long I fought my way to some sense and let their images, videos and words give me momentum to realise my own desires to do what they do – my way.
And that is the difference between being a part of the crowd.
I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I feel a lot of people who idolise the travel media matriarchs will either live their dreams out through these people or get up and say, “you know what? I’m going to try this out. I’m going to start”. And rather deceptively that is often the hardest part! Hello blog, only three years late! My bad indeed!
Those who do decide to take the leap, may not be prepared, and may just treat this lifestyle as just that, a lifestyle.
So a chilled, only live once kind of backpacking blowout that leaves you broke a couple of months in going “Shit! Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. Now what do I do?”.
Then there are the people who walk into this with the determination to do it right. They understand the balance between work and play is most often unbalanced and demanding. But overall, realise quickly if it's actually their cup of tea or not because the passion will see them through when the times get tough or have them running for the hills.
I feel a lot of people see the digital nomad as the fun, easy way out of the mundane life. But that’s it’s draw; it flaunts its good side, only exposing itself as hard work once you’ve been lured in. Like a girl with too much makeup on – last night you danced with a goddess, today you wake up next to a stranger.
Now I’m not trying to discourage you from trying out this life if its what you want, and that’s what I’m trying to say, is it what you truly want?
Have you travelled before?
Outside of your own country?
Without your parents or friends?
Have you had the plan turn upside down and smiled and said “let's see what happens” instead of shouting and cursing at life?
Does travel make you feel content, peaceful and happy in the grand scheme of life?
Do you wake up with childlike excitement in the morning when you realise where you are?
Do you enjoy the back end of producing videos, editing photos, and staring at blank pages trying to write?
Heck, do you even like any of those things?
Are you prepared for the road to financial increase to be long and unstable?
Are you cool with having to do some actual work each day, to earn a living for all those cool images and videos you show to the world as ‘living it up’ when really you are nowhere near?
Is this what you really want?
Most people won't get this far along the journey. They will stay with the comfort of their illusions. Some, who felt those questions positively resonate with them will begin the long hard journey to living the life of their dreams.
That is the difference between travel envy, and being travel envy.