Posing against a backdrop of white sand and sparkling blue sea, Zilla van den Born looks every inch the gap-year backpacker. For weeks, her friends and family have followed her social media updates with envy, watching as she lives out every traveler’s dream. But is Zilla’s adventure really what it seems?
In this day and age, traveling is big news. While previous generations had to content themselves with holidays in their own countries – and perhaps the occasional trip abroad – today’s explorers are spoiled for choice. And now, it’s common for many young people to visit far-flung corners of the globe before settling into their chosen careers.
As a result, visiting backpacker hotspots such as South-East Asia and India has become more and more popular in recent decades. But in an era of Facebook and Instagram, these experiences are often reduced to filter-heavy snapshots of tropical beaches, exotic meals and grinning locals. Obviously, though, these don’t represent the full reality of the traveling experience – so where should we draw the line?