Someone who knows us via social media recently said Mike seems to live a "charmed life.”
We hear this a lot. The problem with social media is that all you know is what you're presented. Do people with beautiful Instagram accounts really live beautiful lives? Or is it all "success theater" -- a mere performance?
In our case, I can tell you that in fact the beauty is real. In fact, I'm often frustrated by the inability of our cameras to capture the true beauty of what we encounter in our travels.
Of course, it's not a complete picture. But, on the whole and across our social media accounts, we present a pretty accurate picture. (We even post about the mundane stuff, the tragic, the comic and the tragicomic....)
Also: I go extended periods of time when I don’t do any social media. Mike’s Dad died three weeks ago today and I was feeling too sad to share anything on social media except just a couple of posts about what we were going through.
My feelings about social media are mixed. I object to the negative impact it has on our society in general and people in particular. I especially dislike and disapprove of Facebook and to some extent Instagram. Yet I still use them because they enable me to stay in touch with people I love.
In particular, social media often evokes negative emotions and attitudes about self image. It instills unhealthy competitiveness and jealousy while inculcating egotism, narcissism and self-righteousness. This is particularly worrisome for what it does to the younger generations who don't remember a world without social media.
I post on social media, usually Instagram, only when I have something personal to share and feel compelled to write what comes from my heart. Honesty, transparency and authenticity is something I strive for. And it’s my hope this is reflected not only on my day to day interactions in real life with people in general but also in what I share on social media in particular.
I’ve struggled with social media the last few years because on the one hand, I don’t want to participate in a system designed by self-interested companies with self-serving agendas to manipulate people and how they feel while controlling what we see and what we don’t see in our streams.
On the other hand, social media allows us to stay connected with our extended relatives, global community, and family of friends all over the world. It allows us to share what we’re up to and learn about and enjoy what others are doing. It’s also beneficial for our business as it provides a platform to promote our work and labors of love. So I decided to embrace social media and use it in accordance to my own values.
Our social media posts and our pictures are real and they actually represent not a small but a significant part of our lives. It’s not social media "success theatre" -- it’s authentic slices of our life, which include the beautiful and the joyful as well as some of the sad and the painful.
We suffer loss, we experience pain, and sometimes experience family discord like everyone else. And although we have our fair share of suffering in our lives, I can genuinely say, with great humility but unapologetically, that we do live a "charmed life," and we're grateful for it. And the charm in this life is by design -- we've worked hard to get it. And Mike tells everyone how to get it in his book. In fact, that's the sole point of the book.
The joy, the happiness, the adventures around the world and the unforgettable, life-changing and exuberant Gastronomad Experiences are real. They represent our cumulative knowledge and lessons learned during our 32 years of travels and our nomadic living of 12 years.
We don’t want you to feel jealous of our "charmed life." We want to inspire you (and show you how) to put a lot more charm in your life. - Amira