No dispute, it’s one of the most beautiful Instagram picture perfect places. But Santorini has another picture many exclude in their social media posts, the circus-like, out of control mass Tourism hysteria. Something that was happening and harming many major Tourist Destinations around the World, until a virus placed Tourism on a 2-year time out.
There is always a story behind every picture, and it’s not always as stunning or perfect as the picture’s exterior. It doesn’t have to be deleted or hidden.
Being true doesn’t have to be embarrassing or scary. Worrying of other people’s opinion and judgement shouldn’t be important. Social Media should make us feel good and inspired, not the opposite.
Likes versus Experience. Beauty versus Heart.
4 hours to experience Santorini is not a relaxing getaway, but a stressful race to cram it all.
3 hours wasted getting to and getting back. More experience lining up than experiencing what’s special. More teasing than indulgence. More brisk walking than stopping to just relax and enjoy.
There were more Selfies happening with the view as mere background rather than the view as the main Star of one’s attention. More instant gratification than new cultural exploration and immersion.
It was repetitive rush, rush, rush, then wait, wait, wait that I lost my cool and enthusiasm halfway the supposedly dream bucket list. I was expecting a combo of Zen and fun, but experienced discomfort and irritability instead.
I turned into a Hulk and sabotage my own vacay. If only snapping out of it was as instantaneous as my mood change. I had to walk it off to simmer down the steam.
My experience was far from the pristine bluest of blue Mediterranean Sea. It was more of rough, temperamental Seas on a very hot Summer day.
I wasn’t amazed nor amused even if millions have posted “hashtag amazing.” Can’t lie on what I really felt.
But yes, Santorini was very photogenic in every angle that all cameras loves it. My phone camera was so love struck that it was only seeing beauty and perfection. It didn’t see the flaws and the craziness. It didn’t feel unpleasantness. The love spell became its blessing.
So today, let me share what Romeo saw in Juliet. Let me describe what he felt in such a very short gift of magic and enchantment. Let me relive the fireworks and euphoria in the short hours he was given. Let me celebrate inside and out his Summer like no other.
I am envious of what my camera phone has seen and experienced. I wish I was able to see what it saw, feel what it felt, experience what it experienced.
Months after our trip, I saw a picture on a magazine cover that looks exactly as the place I took time to discover up close when I was separated from my travel group. I remember walking alone, but not lonely. I remember being lost, but found calm, gladness and solitude.
Looking back, I did get to have moments where I followed my own adventures and was not rushed nor pressured to enjoy them. I did have moments where I can honestly say, “I was there to experience the beautiful and the amazing pieces of Santorini.” That hashtags amazing are true.
I may not have another chance to walk the streets of Santorini and watch its incredible beauty and Sunrises, but perhaps imagining the phone camera is me will do the trick whether real or imagined. More heart, less aesthetic superficiality.