They say the secret to happiness is low expectation. That expectation is the thief of joy and the root of all heartache. And if disappointment equals expectation divided by reality, then this post might make you really, really disappointed.
Filter after filter, we are constantly editing our photos to create illusions of places we visit. We have the ability to make everything seem like anything we want. And for the unknown traveler browsing images on Instagram, these exact places get added to an ever-growing wander-list.
I experienced a few of these places and uncovered the reality of your favorite Instagram photos.
Hanging on at Pedra do Telégrafo
Located south of Rio de Janeiro, this short hike takes you to an overhanging rock.
Holding on for dear life.
I’m 5’2″ (rounded up 😜) and I can touch the ground. Did I mention I had to wait over an hour in line just to get a chance to take photos? And if you take too long on the rock, the locals might start yelling at you in Portuguese.
Sunrise at Mesa Arch
You’ll find this pothole arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
A peaceful sunrise.
You successfully get up at 4 a.m. to drive into the park but a bus full of tourists show up before you. Trying to search for space under their arms or between their legs to snap a photo for yourself is like trying to find a skittle in a bag of m&m’s.
Exploring Glass Beach
This beach near Fort Bragg, California is abundant in sea glass.
Shiny. Sparkly. Colorful. Clear.
Most of the glass is clear so you’ll spend time grazing the beach and collecting the most colorful pieces for that Instagram photo (pictured above).
Wildlife Encounters in Alaska
Alaska is home to some of the land’s largest carnivores.
A wild bear encounter.
Bear encounters in Alaska aren’t as common as you might think. Just south of Anchorage, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center for that epic bear selfie. This place is actually really awesome and supporting it will help preserve Alaska’s wildlife.
Purple Sand at Pfeiffer Beach
This beautiful, secluded beach in Big Sur, California has purple sand.
Everything is purple.
Only a small section of the beach actually contains purple sand. You probably won’t be able to fill up that empty vial you have in your pocket.
Align your expectations with reality and you’ll never be disappointed because you can finally see things for what they are and not what you want them to be.
Have you traveled somewhere that didn’t end up being what you thought it would be? Let’s chat about it!
You can find all of my filtered photos by following me on Instagram 😁