I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Instagram for a while. Show me one Millenial who hasn’t. I’ve gone through a bit of a journey with social media lately. So here I am, sharing that journey as I’m sure a lot of you will recognise some of it.
First of all, I’ve always loved Instagram the most out of all social media platforms. (Yes, hello, I’m born in the 1990s.) I’ve always liked arty things and the platform is a space for art and self-made artists.
Also, it’s my guilty pleasure to watch what movie stars do all day. Just for the insight of their mad little world.
Protecting my mind
In the past 12 months, it started to sink in how much influence Instagram has on my mind. And so I started to become more protective of it.
I started the process by de-cluttering who I follow at the start of the year. I un-followed everyone who I didn’t deem worthy to take up my time. Okay, I just realised how arrogant that sounds. Let’s try saying it in a nicer way: I un-followed everyone that didn’t bring me joy, inspiration, food for thought or knowledge.
The second step was to ask myself: “What would I like to see more of?” For me, it was more content about writing, books, expats with a story and photography taking me to far-away places. I went searching for accounts specifically about these topics and started to follow them.
The bad place
There I was, with a new, more inspiring Instagram feed. It could have been a happy ending to the social media hate story. But it wasn’t.
A few months into the year, I fell into a hole. A bad place of self criticism, major imposter syndrome and feeling overwhelmed. I started to become obsessed with having to be productive, having to improve myself. I scheduled myself time to read books that I felt I should read, even though I didn’t enjoy reading them. I wrote lists of things I needed to do to become better at my job, to get ahead with this blog. The blog that I had put work into for a year and still wasn’t big/good/relevant enough. I felt like I was failing at everything.
The feeling was there every hour of every day and it was exhausting. I didn’t understand where this was coming from and how to get out of it. In hindsight, I think my little social media de-clutter might have had to do with it.
I now followed people who I admired deeply – the best of the best in my eyes. Those were accounts I hoped my blog would become one day. They reminded me how not-there I was and how much I have to go through to become like them.
So, here is how I did get out of that place. I reminded myself what this blog was really about, why I started it. It was never my goal to become a big “influencer” or photographer. I wanted somewhere I could practice my writing and create a travel/expat space that is different and honest. Also, as an online marketer, I wanted to build my own experiences with the platforms I use for clients.
After reminding myself of my initial goals, what I had achieved didn’t seem so bad after all.
And so finally, I think I’m in a place where I can love Instagram again – or at least the incredibly talented and funny creators on the platform.
My favourite creators
When I put this list together, I realised what all these people have in common and why I like them. They all achieve taking you to a place. Not just showing you one travel destination after the other as if it was a competition.
They show you what a place is truly like – in every season, every mood.
One of my absolute favourites first! Carolyn takes beautiful, moody photos of her home – the British Isles. She goes on road trips around the UK and Ireland and delights us with gems like the below!
I love her photography but also her everyday stories of living by the Northern English seaside. Carolyn recommends lots of books too. I’ve read a few she shared and they’ve always been great and exactly my taste!
I’m a bit obsessed with New York and would really, really like to go. This Uptown Girl captures the New York dream perfectly and fuels my longing to explore the city of Friends, Sex and the City and so many other stories.
Tiffany lives in my favourite European city – Rome! She shares lovely photos of the city, along with her experiences as an expat. She also hosts the best expat podcast I’ve found to date – “The Bittersweet Life”.
Valerie put New Orleans on the list for me. She shares what she sees around her neighbourhood – “A touch of daily magic from New Orleans”.
Polly’s photos just make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They also make me want to pack my bags and move to the UK – like, right now.
Geraldine is funny, honest and the writer I’m hoping to be one day. She writes about travel, love and life on Instagram and her blog The Everywhereist. Check it out!
I love Niobe’s photos, her blog and her distinct voice. She’s left Hanoi recently but she’s done such a great job in showing the world what it’s like to live there.
Not much to explain here: The most beautiful travel photography on Instagram!
Value your mind
I think social media now is like smoking in the 90s. Media and science have unravelled the truth – how bad it is for people. And still, no one really cares.
I reckon we all know we’re not going to get off it. So we might as well make the best of it. Fill our minds with things that are worth seeing/knowing. Things that we enjoy.
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