This post is totally spontaneous. I was in the middle of finishing off a draft I’ve had saved for ages, when I stopped (a.k.a. was distracted) and had a cursory scroll through Instagram. Cue an onslaught of snaps from L.A., the Maldives, Las Vegas, a private beach in Thailand; they all looked incredible – as did the girls in them – but I was suddenly struck by how inaccessible most of these destinations are.
Let’s be upfront. Bloggers are often offered complimentary or discounted trips in exchange for coverage, the likes of which is intended to encourage new customers to book into wherever that destination may be. Only a few weeks ago I was sunning it up in Corfu, having been offered a hotel room and half-board for three days in return for a blog post and social uploads. I want to establish early on that I’m not bashing the girls that accept these trips in any way – if somebody offered me a plane ticket to Bora Bora tomorrow, I would take it in a heartbeat. It’s part of the blogging industry, and who the heck wouldn’t want to go on a complimentary trip?!
Instead, I just want to bring attention to the fact that, for most people in their twenties, a trip to the Maldives is a big fucking deal. It’s a once-in-a-blue-moon, I’ve-been-saving-for-this-fucker-for-ages kind of trip. It’s not a boozy weekend in Magaluf or a one night stay in Paris (both of which can actually get pretty pricey, tbh) – it’s a huge expense.
Top – Zara (Stradivarius dupe here)Jeans – New LookShoes – ASOSEarrings – ASOS
And we all have normal shit to pay for. Rent, a mortgage, boring bills, eating out, our phones, our computers, food – the list goes on. Saving for a holiday on top of saving for your life or even trying to pay off that credit card you blitzed during uni is difficult, and all too often social media can not only glamorize certain destinations, but also bypass just how inaccessible they are. Mad props to you if you can afford to hit up Bora Bora every year, but you’re not failing at life if you can’t.
Maybe you visit Benidorm every August with your family. That’s normal, that’s fine. Maybe you do a couple of city breaks instead of one huge two-weeker. That’s normal, that’s fine. Maybe you don’t go on holiday because right now, you can’t afford it. That’s normal, that’s fine. Holidays are a luxury and I think that’s all too quickly forgotten. They’re a special treat and sometimes you can’t afford said special treat – that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
Even now, with two jobs and at 23 years of age, I would still honestly still feel anxious about dropping over a grand on a holiday. And my worries may sound silly to some people, because I’ve bought two designer handbags, both of which would have paid for nice and extravagant holidays – bags last for a long time, but memories last forever, right? I know the line of thought and I get why big holidays are a big deal, it’s just a world away from the way I was brought up.
My family never went on big trips abroad when I was younger. Instead we went to Scotland with my grandparents or Yorkshire to stay on a working dairy farm (THE.BEST.FUN.EVER. My Mum even helped deliver a calf!). In fact, I didn’t go abroad until I was 17, when myself, my two best friends and my brother went with his best friend to stay in his Dad’s Spanish villa, all of which I paid for out of my Sainsbury’s salary and, let’s be real, the accommodation was free anyway.
I say this because when I see these glamorous destinations popping up time and time again on my Instagram theme, I’m reminded of how far away reality can often be from social media. There’s no doubt about it – a fancy holiday in some far-off, exotic location is undoubtedly incredible, and if that’s accessible to you, then good god please continue and let us live vicariously through you.
But if you can’t, no worries. Your success or your happiness is not defined by how far-flung your holiday spot is, or how cool the restaurants are or how hipster your grainy shots can be. If the furthest you can make it is your garden for a series of boozy BBQs, then keep on living your best life, girl. There’s no rush. The world is your oyster, and if and when you’re able to explore it, then it will be waiting.