I took a few days off Instagram. I was feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of questions people were sending me in my DMs.
And in my emails.
And via the contact form on my work website.
I've been far too busy lately in real life to sit down and answer them but I could 'hear' them shouting in my head. Especially the ones that add at the end "I appreciate your response". I hate that phrase, it pressures you into feeling obliged to answer.
You see, Instagram is not my job. I get absolutely nothing out of it. I have a full time job already and many other things to do every day and a hell of a lot of steps to climb every time I go anywhere.
I ended up crying the other day which is NOT ok. All I could hear in my head were the questions people were expecting me to answer:
What should I pack?
Give me tips for Germany and Poland
Help me find a place to propose to my girlfriend
What should I do if it rains?
Where should we eat?
Help me find a hotel.
What should I wear?
Where should we eat in Amalfi, Sorrento, Naples?
I need a photographer
Hows the fashion there?
I need my nails done"
Why don't you mention your mother?
I made the mistake of answering that last question recently only to receive a resounding SILENCE when I wrote that my mother had died in 2006.
No ‘thank you for answering.’
Which sincerely fucked me off. Why did I even bother?
Half of the other questions I cannot answer. I can't tell YOU what to pack or wear or whether you will be hot or cold because I don't know you. I don't know if you get cold easily, if you live in a desert and are used to heat. I don't know if you are a skirt person or if you never show your arms. How can I answer those questions?
Likewise: where should I stay? Which hotel? Where should I eat?I don't know how much money you want to spend, I don't know whether you want a pool, a beach, 5 star service, a hostel. Whether you eat shellfish or meat, or want a view with your meal or just cheap food.
I don't know if it will rain in three weeks time at 7 in the morning when you want to do the Path of the Gods. I don't know if your boat trip may be cancelled due to rough sea. I can't predict the weather and tell you what to bring. No, I don't know which fucking shoes you should pack!
The lack of pleases and thank yous is astounding. People are just DEMANDING free information constantly and a lot of these questions begin with “Hi, I just found your profile and I want to know…”They don’t even follow me, they just want the info. I felt violated by the lack of respect and the self importance of people expecting me to answer them just because...
Wait. Just because what?
Because I put myself out there?
Because I live in a tourist resort?
Because I'm nice?
Because I should give back?
I have given back a lot over the years. I wrote a blog from 2006. I made a ton of useful videos on what to do, where to hike, what to see etc, I do stories nearly every day to keep people in touch with Positano. I did live updates during the mountain fires and floods 2 years ago to keep people in the loop. But people are never satisfied and now want personal tips and personal recommendations...and let me remind you , I get NOTHING out of it at all.
I have to concentrate on my life. My husband has suggested that I answer the questions sent to me from our PAYING clients from our other business and ignore the freeloaders. They can ask google.
Which would be great, but makes me feel all sorts of things.:
Guilty for ignoring the questions.
Guilty for ignoring the followup question marks they send me when I don't answer in 24 hours.
Guilty until I cave and answer one but then they don't say thank you and I feel RAGE.
And then I feel sadistically happy that I am ignoring the rest of them.
But then the guilt hits again.And every day the questions pour in...
Maybe I'm not really nice at all, maybe that's just my Instagram persona and this is the real me. An angry, complaining, over the hill expat who can't handle the pressure and doesn't know how good she's got it. Somebody is now bound to point out that they (and I quote) 'feel badly for the people you put on blast. They see you as an expert. Why do you want to shame someone for looking to you as an expert?"
Because frankly my dear, I don't give a damm anymore. I am not obliged to be a free travel consultant just because of where I live.
Surely that is what google was invented for, not Instagram? Or hey, professional travel experts, perhaps?