I get asked a lot why I don’t use social media (properly) to promote my blog: why I don’t (to the best of my ability) post picturesque photos of myself in the most beautiful parts of the world. I get asked why I don’t post photos of myself wearing long flowy dresses in saturated photos on islands in Greece or mustard yellow one-piece swimsuits on beaches in Mexico or all-black punk outfits in the middle of the Shibuya crossing in Japan.
The problem is not that I don’t pack well-curated vintage pieces to travel with, or that I haven’t mastered the art of making beautiful places look as if they don’t belong on Earth with humans who don’t care much about her.
The problem is that I do.
But, I am just another twenty-two year old riddled with more insecurity than I ever bargained for.
My entire life before I turned 21, I believed without a doubt that I was the best and the brightest no matter what space I found myself in. There was no one smarter, no one kinder, no one more beautiful. Me. I was the one. It may sound quite narcissistic in the tone I type this in but really, I was raised to never doubt myself. To my family who raised me, I was the best daughter, the best niece, the best big sister, the best student, the most beautiful teenager–how could I doubt myself?
The first time I ever felt insecure was when a boy I loved called me that. Before then, the emotion was foreign to me. How could it not be? I never thought twice about the boys I romanced because I didn’t have to—I was beautiful and I was hilarious. Who wouldn’t want me?
After that encounter, however, it all went downhill.
The truth is, the only time I never feel insecure (the kind that makes you question whether or not you are wanted) is when I am alone in a strange place surrounded by people I can’t understand. Yes, I am overwhelmed by other emotions when I travel alone but never insecurity–the kind that makes you question whether or not you are wanted (I know, I repeated). Walking down the streets of Athens completely at peace with myself regardless of the ugly stares I get from white people, running to catch a train in Paris oblivious of the men who watch my breasts run with me, falling asleep next to a lake at the top of a mountain in Andalusia, hiding a teardrop while I watch the ocean and the desert collide in Paracas, laughing with my girlfriends while staring at a beautiful Cenote in Tulum–all these moments without feeling an ounce of insecurity:
Why would I interrupt my peace to share a picture of myself only to be plagued with the very insecurity I run away from?
It might be a little embarrassing to admit this tiny detail about my life but I found that just as much as travelling to new places quenches the anxiety my insecurities bring into my life, so does writing these articles.
And so for my readers who can’t help but feel the pressure to share each moment with the millions of people out there who only see the beauty of the world through overly saturated pictures on Instagram: Take a moment for yourself. Be present and breathe.
Reality is suffocating but travel does not have to be–especially when its how you choose to love yourself.