As I sat at Café de Flore soaking up the sun on a cool yet sunny fall morning, sitting beside my handsome husband with a cappuccino in hand; I was genuinely happy not doing anything at all for once during our two and a half week long adventurous and fast paced honeymoon. This was our last full day in Paris and I had accepted the fact that I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do and I was finally ok with it.
Paris is a large city with so much to see and so much to do that I found myself getting really anxious about how many things we should cram per day, in order to optimize our first visit to the city of love. But no matter how many city guides and perfectly thought out itineraries I read online, I couldn’t make it work. I was ridiculously exhausted from two weeks of traveling and was still recovering from a food poisoning incident in Venice; and yet I still felt horrible and even mad about not visiting every square inch of Paris (or at least the picturesque areas I had seen so many times). I blame Instagram for this anxiety. So many famous influencers and bloggers showcase their travels through Paris with such flowing ease and grace, but in reality, it takes a lot of planning and work to see every famous and Instagram-able spot that Paris has to offer in a short amount of time, while maintaining your sanity. By this point, I simply had enough. I set aside my self-assigned pressure to see everything in Paris and just enjoyed the moment.
This got me thinking, we often get so caught up on ticking off every sight or monument from our travel to-do list or bucket list that we forget to actually appreciate the moment and the experience that we traveled such a great distance to get to. But, this doesn’t just apply to traveling either, sometimes when we get so caught up in capturing a moment (or staging a perfectly fake “moment”) for social media that we forget to enjoy the moment.
And this brings me to my next point, comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare your life (not even your travels) to others. People only portray what they want others to see on social media, the highlight reel. Not to say you shouldn’t continuing posting your highlight reel, because the highlight reel is fun and makes you happy and I think you should do and post what makes you happy. But it’s simply not healthy to compare one’s day-to-day messes and struggles to someone’s highly edited highlight reel on social media. Case in point – what you don’t see from the pictures on this post is the time I had to wait in order to take a somewhat decent picture without dozens of tourists in the background or me telling Matt to take 836302632 more “artsy fartsy” pictures (as I kept calling them) of me as I attempted to causally drink my cappuccino while getting looked at funny by the Parisians that walked past us.
Going back to this same day, we made our way to the Château de Versailles and we were greeted by the breathtaking grandiose palace and a line of people as far as the eye can see. After purchasing their most expensive ticket and cutting the long line, we got funneled into the palace as a tightly packed can of sardines. As we made our way through the Palace, I was awe-struck from the beauty of the art and architecture that surrounded me, but also from the people that I shared these spaces with. I saw some people that were carefully listening to their audio guides as they slowly strolled from room to room of the Palace, admiring the smallest of details and learning about the history of each of the rooms. Unfortunately, the grand majority of the people that I witnessed were almost in a zombie-like trance, in which they would snap a few pictures (mostly selfies) then dart to the next room to just take a few more. Once we reached Versailles’ famous hall of mirrors, my anxiety returned as the hoard of people squeezed through the doorway with their selfie sticks in tow. I scooted off to the side of the stampede with my husband on one hand and my audio guide on my other.
We spent a lot of time in the hall of mirrors, because: A) we were fascinated with the room’s beauty and took a few pictures to attempt to capture some of its beauty, and B) I ain’t going to lie, I was trying to just get 1 decent picture without a million people behind me, whacking my head with their selfie sticks (yes, that did happen here).
The entire point of this post is that this day was an eye-opener for me. As I sat at Café de Flore that morning, I realized all the pent up anxiety I had all because I subconsciously kept comparing the highlight reel portrayed on Instagram to my messy, tiring, and sometimes stressful reality. My advice is that regardless of what you are doing or where you are, don’t forget to be present in that moment, because regardless of the number of pictures you may take in a moment, you can’t get that moment back.
This brings me to the reason of why I created this blog in the first place. I wanted a creative outlet in order to provide so much to you: from sharing tips and tricks that helped us navigate through the beautiful cities we’ve traveled to, to sharing my favorite beauty and fashions finds of the moment, but most importantly, to share my thoughts and experiences with you in order to help guide you along on your journey to live your most “beautiful life” (which is “bella vita” in Italian). Hence the name of my blog, Bella Vita Guide (see what I did there, lol).
I hope that you found this post useful and thought provoking. So with this, I ask you, have you ever been guilty of this as well? Share with me your thoughts and your experiences of anxiety (we all have it, ain’t no point in hiding it).
With love and support,