Do you ever look outside of yourself and think, I wish I could do that? As I dive deeper into the world of travel writing, I find that once again I am only seeing the outer edges of a bubble that holds the real stuff inside. It's just like everything else, the ideal snapshot only tells one side of the story.
I skim through articles as I research the life of travel writers. They are always smiling, posing in front of gorgeous scenery, plopped in a hammock, or eating a carefully prepared art piece of a dinner. They are having a ball flying here and there. Taking trains. Seeing the world! It looks so glamorous!
I think about how I would love to have their life -- getting paid to see the beautiful places, stay in those elite rooms, take in a spa or two or three. They are really living an adventure! They are seeing the world. It took me by surprise when one of them posted, "We have always dreamed of traveling in an RV. How nice it must be to bring your home with you. It's just not in the budget for us at this time."
At that moment my perspective shifted.
I dig deeper into my fellow writers' lives. They work nonstop! They are writing, tweeting, page posting, pinning, networking, pitching, and pitching some more. They have a few days here, and then a few days there. They live in hotels, hostels, tents, and maybe in their car a night or two as they share a campfire with a moose.
There is the view from the outside we grab onto, and then there is the rawness of it all.
The Truth About RV Living
There are many who think this RV life is truly "living the dream." And in all honesty it has been the best lifestyle for our family that brought us from surviving to thriving. And it also has its gooey center of reality.
Some think our life is one big vacation and the stress of "normal" life just passes us by because we travel the country in an RV. For us, this is not the case. We have the same anxieties any family carries. Sometimes the lifestyle can actually make it worse!
Imagine you have dreamt about feeling the wind blow through your hair as you stand looking out at the vast Grand Canyon. And while you stand there, you take a photograph of the occasion with your family. Smiles. Group hug. It is all that you dreamed it could be.
Now, step inside my head.
Wow, look at this amazing place! I feel so grateful to be here. Look at the kids. I am so glad we get to experience this with them. This is beautiful. It didn't take us too long to drive here in the van. Oh, the van..I wonder how much it is going to cost to repair those wheel bearings. Can we ever get ahead with our finances? And now the braces! And on all four kids...
And there I could stand looking at the most gorgeous place with some miserable yakking taking place in my head! A once in a lifetime experience and I can't get our stupid finances off of my brain! Reality smacks me in the face.
So, here is what I am saying. We can look out on social media, blogs, at church, in our coffee groups, in business meetings and see the outer crust of someone's life. We can take that snapshot of idealism and then compare it to the real life we know we live and proceed to use it to rip apart our self worth. That is one way to make sure we live a full life of misery.
Another option is to look at those photographs and accept them for what they are - just outside snapshots of moments. We can celebrate the accomplishments of others while being aware it is only a snippet of the whole picture. The whole picture is so much more interesting and fulfilling in my opinion.
The truth is that underneath the pixels, everyone has junk. Everyone has a journey.
Sometimes the ideal world of photographs becomes too much for us to flip through. We have the option to take ourselves out of environments that are toxic to our souls. Perhaps, take a vacation from social media and use that life energy to work on the real stuff instead of comparing our journey to the timeline? Maybe remove apps from our phones? Whatever it takes to create a more loving space for ourselves.
Thank goodness the story of our life is more than frozen smiles captured in photographs. So, while my life here might look all blissful and fun in the photos, now you know that I am really just like you. Well, except that I gave up the house I designed for a cardboard one. Some days I wonder.. what was I thinking?
Follow Gypsy Jema on Twitter.