Got a problem? Blame social media. Held accountable for an increase in depression; anxiety; bullying; shortened-attention spans; the breakdown of relationships; the rise of bad grammar; the reign of the narcissist; the disruption of education; and the mysterious disappearance of the ‘present moment’, the social network has a lot to answer for.
With this has come a rise in the number of people leaving social media altogether. An increasing trend has developed, with more and more people taking themselves ‘offline’ and proudly displaying their achingly cool Nokia 3210, offering no more than a 200 character text message and a game of ‘Snake’. In contrast to these newly unshackled spirits, you feel nothing more than a miserable old addict, unable to give up the game or get through the day without your Twitter hit. You feel guilty, ashamed, and hide your iPhone at the bottom of your bag.
Whilst I agree with much of criticism slung at social media, I believe there is also much to be celebrated about it. Far more than simply providing me with entertaining videos of dogs, social media has introduced me to a world of colourful and vibrant adventures; glimpses into countries and places I want to see; the lives of people I admire and respect; and the inspiration to make me work harder and dream bigger.
In light of this, I thought that I’d put together a list of my favourite Instagram accounts. Not just dedicated to travel, these are people whose content I genuinely enjoy and look forward to seeing. They are the new pin-ups of my time: the posters that would go on my wall and the pop stars I’d want to meet. These are striking, thoughtful and inspiring accounts. Enjoy.
It was a Sunday afternoon last summer when I came across Brooke Saward. Scrolling through Instagram, I came across an account filled with photographs that straddled countries and continents, people and places. This was Brooke’s account: an adventure in pictures. Travelling the world solo, Brooke has the sort of humour and confidence you would want, if faced with lonely long-haul flights and new cities to explore alone. Brooke is who inspired us to start our own travel-related account and is a testament to the ability of one girl to take on the world. Alone.
If Brooke Saward is the Queen of travel, then Jeremy is her King. Beautiful Destinations – founded by Mr Jauncey – is a breathtakingly beautiful account of luxurious, far-flung destinations and oceans of emerald looking waters. If I were to win the lottery, this would be my life. Furthermore, the photographs that Jeremy posts (largely selected from other users) are technically beautiful and of a professional quality. You’ll not find a ‘hot dog’ leg photograph here.
Skye’s account is a fairly recent discovery, but has fast become a favourite account of mine. Living between London and Venice, Skye is a talented cook and a beautiful photographer. Her account is a treasure-trove of detailed and intriguing photographs, taken straight from her dining table. Fresh fruits; seasonal vegetables; pies; tarts; cakes; pizzas; pastas; pastries; lobsters and flowers are arranged beautifully on her table, providing a glimpse of the closest thing that I’ve seen to la dolce vita. Skye’s account never fails to make me feel happy and inspired.
Like Skye’s account, this is not a travel account, but rather one dedicated to all things floral. Based in Sheffield, England, these talented ladies have carefully curated an Instagram account that has succeeded in truly bringing to life their passion for flowers and floristry. From deep autumnal bouquets, to pastel-themed blooms, this again is an account carefully assembled with thoughtful and beautiful captures.
Maybe it is because they are twins? Perhaps it is because they are incredibly handsome? Or maybe it is because they are seasoned adventurers, undertaking expeditions across frozen landscapes? Whatever reason, this account is a firm favourite of mine. Fantastic for anyone with a sense of adventure and desire to conquer the great outdoors, Ross and Hugo chart their adventures through stunning photography underpinned by history and a charitable cause. What is not to love?
Emilie is another solo traveller, telling her story through a magical Instagram account. In contrast to our own colourful and bright photographs, Emilie’s are a beautiful mixture of soft, muted colours; creating a dreamy mix of colours and landscapes. With starry skies; snow-capped mountains; cosy knitwear and warm log fires, you can almost feel the magic of Emilie’s adventures through these photographs.
Dame Traveler, or Nastasia, is one of the first travel-related accounts we followed. Since then, we’ve watched excitedly as her account has grown and grown; providing an inspiring place dedicated to female travellers across the globe. There is a palpable sense of community around Nastasia’s account, as women support each other’s travels and provide one another with advice, tips and guidance. There is also the perfect mix of lifestyle thrown into the account, with beautiful dresses, hats, handbags and accessories filling each photograph. A little like Lonely Planet meets Vogue.
The beauty of Sara’s account lies in its simplicity. From simple shadows on the wall, to sleepy photographs of her daughter, Orla, this account basks in a sense of calmness, serenity and general stillness. Again, I am a big fan of the muted and hushed tones of Sara’s photographs and admire the way she captures the small, yet beautiful, moments of life. This is an account that flies in the face of claims that social media users fail to appreciate the present moment.
This is travel and adventure photography at its best. A photographer for National Geographic, it is perhaps little wonder that Aaron’s photographs are exceptional. There is a real life and vitality to this account, bringing together photographs of faces I’ve never met, from countries I may never visit. Perhaps that is why I love it so much.
Alex and her partner, Michael, have packed up their lives in Southern California and have headed to Europe. I’ve loved watching their summer unfold as they’ve travelled across France, Croatia and Italy, discovering one sun-drenched place after another. As we head to the darker part of the year, this account will bring back happy memories of balmy beaches and salty seas. They are also a disgustingly good-looking couple and will provide you with major relationship envy. Sigh.