In Contagious by Jonah Berger, he explains the various reasons why certain things catch on; what compels people to share things. There are a variety of psychological reasons why we share such as social currency – if I tell you about a cool and trendy restaurant, that makes me seem cool and trendy. Other reasons range from defining ourselves to others to nourishing relationships and feeling more involved in the world.
The reason I’m so drawn to sharing is about as complicated as deciding whether to get salad or fries with a meal. Simply, it makes me happy. It is an irrepressible urge that I indulge merely because I love to share experiences, stories, fun activities, my favourite restaurants….everything but my food (I’ll cut you!). This impulse is probably why I gravitate towards creative pursuits are they allow me a variety of platforms through which to share beyond verbal communication such as writing, design, photography, etc…It’s a means or immortalizing a memory; transforming a transient moment in to something tangible and concrete to be reflected upon later.
Instagram is a natural outlet for the (over)share-er in me. I get embarrassed when I insist on taking photos of my food or asking a friend to take a photo of me but I MUST. It’s my Pokémon. As silly as it seems and as much as it kills me a little inside to use the phrase “curating my feed,” it’s an activity I really enjoy.
Often the in the pursuit of the “perfect” shot, I embarrass myself or end up in ridiculous situations that are not reflected in the polished end product. Much like learning the history behind a famous painting that you never “got” before, here are the behind-the-scenes stories of my favourite photos from Colombia to provide some context:
1/ THE RIO AT COSTEÑO BEACH
The water along the beach at Costeño Beach were so huge and violent that I was too scared to swim in them, lest I be carried off to sea by rogue dolphins. We decided to trek to a stillwater rio (or river) that we could get to by walking along the beach. Forty-five minutes of sweating and cursing, trudging in the soft sand, we got to a little cove of water where the locals were swanning about on a lazy Sunday. In this photo, I’m unable to tear my eyes away from a woman whose butt cheeks were devouring her bathing suit bottom.
2/ THE BEST LOBSTER FEAST
This was the BEST meal I had the entire trip, and that’s saying something! We stopped for lunch on a little island in the middle of Islas de Rosario and got to pose with the freshly caught lobsters just before they were grilled with garlic and simple seasoning, served with a splash of lime, patacones and coco rice. Our feast was set up on a little plastic table in the sand as the shore lapped at our feet with a cooler full of beers nearby.
3/ COURTYARD EXPLORING IN GETSEMANI
We meant to check out the graffiti in the Getsemani neighbourhood and Ciudad Movil for champeta classes and stumbled into this awesome little hotel, Friends to BE. We were readily welcomed in for a look around, from their rooftop terrace with a gorgeous view of the city to this little courtyard. Bugged Kelly to take this photo from the stairs because the courtyard could be viewed from the balcony, providing an interesting angle.
4/ THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OUTDOOR SHOWER
We occupied the entire second floor at Playa Manglares’ main building and it was so spacious and beautifully decorated. What took the cake was the open-air bathroom! I couldn’t stop squealing about it for 10 minutes. The tiles! The deep tub! I can take a shower under the stars! Only problem was that we suspected that people from the third floor could see us. Ops.
5/ MUD VOLCANO SHENANIGANS
This was me flopping around in the mud volcano. For some reason, gravity was irrelevant in here, and you wouldn’t sink down to the bottom but could float on top. Obviously you couldn’t bring your camera in with you but you absolutely needed photographic evidence of this experience so you could hand off your device to a local kid who would take photos of the landscape and your muddy escapes for 4,000COP ($2).
6/ VIEW FROM A WINDOW
When we were in Cartagena, a local man was selling polished wooden miniatures of Fernando Botero’s sculptures. My favourite was a voluptuous woman holding her arm up because I could almost hear here voice calling “HHHAAAAAAIIIII” and it made me giggle so much that I kept doing it throughout the trip. I needed to capture how enmeshed in the wild greenery Playa Manglares was from our second floor room.
7/ A LOG ON A DESERTED BEACH
We happened to be walking along the shore when it was deserted and decided to pose on a log that had washed ashore. I don’t know why my reaction to having my photo taken was to stand one-legged and throw up peace signs like a stereotypical Asian tourist. A second after this shot was taken, a wave crashed all the way up and almost washed away our things that are hidden just behind the log.
8/ FRAMED IN A JUNGLE
Every morning at Playa Manglares was glorious and we rose with the sun. We would head down to the little dining area under a leafy gazebo and sip magnificent Colombian coffee and eat fresh fruit and eggs served with an arepa. The light was so perfect and I was actually dressed like a civilized human being that I had no choice but to prod Kelly to take a photo of me. Plus I loved how the foliage framed a field of greenery.
9/ DECEPTIVELY CHILL
Our entire time at Playa Blanca was so frantic but we fit so much into our short visit. We ate an amazing grilled seafood meal complete with decadent rum cocktails in coconuts, got full body massages, went for a quick dip, haggled for sunglasses, and went jet-skiing. We look so chill in this photo but the truth is that we were so rushed that we almost didn’t get this shot. Immediately after we ran into the waves to wash sand out of places sand ought not to ever be.
10/ PALM TREE FOREST
Just getting into Costeño Beach is a 10 minute walk in a jungle of palm trees. One lazy day we went exploring around and found some ruins and an abandoned trailer. In retrospect, we probably should’ve worn more clothes before we went on our adventure because we started getting attacked by swarms of mosquitos! I may look like I’m taking a leisurely stroll among the palms but it was in between running and swatting inelegantly at the pests.