Those instagrammable moments… enchanting ethereal scenery, not a soul around – except for the beaming person full of delight modeling in front of the camera. Photography in it’s highest art form. Beautiful to frame but frustrating to rely on for travel planning. Somehow, the camera lens seems to miss capturing the crowded long lines, no parking available, bad weather, nowhere to sit and how the food was lukewarm and very salty. By the time the curious traveler finally gets lured in by the snapshots of perfection, it’s too late – experiences are ruined along with the trust of whatever “influencer” lured them there.
To be fair, no two people can ever have the same exact experience anywhere. There are many variables – time of day, moods, staffing issues… the list goes on. Pictures and video clips of a destination can only go so far. It truly takes going in person to figure out the hidden ins and outs of any place. Which is tough if you have to learn the hard way like I did back in the day, when my family would spend good money and use up precious time just to find out the place was all hype and no fun. I told myself I wish there was a person out there who was focused on checking out fantasy type experiences and would just lay out the honest pros and cons for me as a service. Someone who wasn’t pressured into pretending places were fabulous to get followers and sponsors. Well, you can call me my own genie because I made my own wish come true. I put on my thinking cap (MY crown!) and got to work.
I know what you are thinking, “Yeah Devine Marie, but you share photo/video teasers yourself – so what makes you any better?” I know it seems I am being a bit of a hypocrite. So here is the scoop: I have always enjoyed photo play to capture personal memories throughout my life. The majority of the photos I share are from when my family did those experiences as a hobby and it was for personal use only. I add filters on photos to match the essence of the experience – such as when we are doing a time traveling experience in the medieval times; since technically photography wasn’t available, I would make our photos look like oil paintings instead. It was also my thing to craft my family’s fantasy experiences into a story as a fun way to share with friends and family, to retell the adventure we had. These are not photo sessions or paid advertisements by sponsors: my photos are 100% my own personal moments, lived fully and authentically.
As time went by, sharing adventures with my social circle became draining. I started to see signs of FOMO (feeling of missing out) from a few who viewed my family hobby as this endless source of fun. I often get comments like, “How are you finding so many places I never knew existed?” or “It seems every weekend your family is having these over the top amazing adventures and playing all the time!” Then the comparison of their life to mine would cause envy to creep into relationships.
During the pandemic, I had found more time to reflect and create an inventory of how my life was going in the grand scheme. I asked myself if I am using social media to validate my identity based on what others think of me? If I didn’t share any of my personal joys with photos, would I still value the experience? I decided to find out. So in 2020 I decided to drop my time on social media from daily to once a week. Then from once a week to once a month. Now for the last two years I have been doing it once or twice a year. This has had a HUGE positive impact. Not that social media is 100% bad but I got to the core of why I do what I do. I have the peace of knowing it’s not for the pleasing judgment of others. My joy comes from having a creative outlet to play in, and I love experiencing new places with friends and family in person rather than over a screen. My hope is for my biggest dream to come true, to help others make their fantasy dreams come true too.
The flipside is now I have this business to run; so how do I connect with those seeking new ways to experience travel to feed their craving for fantasy? I find myself using social media platforms as my source for sharing what I have discovered. This time I am not giving all the details of what my adventure was like but instead on how I can help others experience their own fantasy adventures by pointing them to Fantaseek.com.
“The best camera lens to look at life with is your own two eyes, not the filter of others.”