While I enjoy a sepia-toned beach or clinking cocktails gif as much as the next person, sometimes I can’t help but feel a little jaded by The Gram. It’s beautiful – really it is – a lot of it anyway. But, as I was supposed was unavoidable, Instagram has become somewhat of an enemy to itself. We see the sick pic, we want to go, we get there are realise that we can’t always retain that “grammy” feeling because real life doesn’t happen in Ludwig, or Crema – or even Valencia if we’re being honest. And so we’ll never entirely create that level of Insta perfection. Travel has been particularly haunted by the Insta craze, in the sense that it’s become somewhat a parody of itself – extremely processed and staged “lifestyle” shots posted by major Influencers. What we loved has come round full circle, and now I almost feel exhausted scrolling past yet another beautiful sunset or white-washed beach.

It’s important to remember though, that Instagram is host to a lot more than cliche couples kissing in serene views, or pigs swimming in crystal clear Caribbean waters. More recently, I’ve been trying to follow less “Instagram fantasy” type accounts and more relatable accounts that focus still on travel, cities, adventure but with a less contrived undertone! Here are a few quirky faves from my personal collection:

 

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________________________ Watson School | Bodega, California | c. 1856 • Watson School was the longest-running one-room schoolhouse in California, eventually becoming a historic park in Bodega, California • In 1855, James Watson donated land to build a school that would serve the nearby communities of Freestone, Bodega, and Valley Ford. For over 100 years, Watson School operated on the land as a public education center • In 1976, Watson School was named Sonoma County Landmark #23, and two years later, the School was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Daniel B. Furlong, who was a member of the school’s final graduating class, initiated restoration efforts in 2011. The wood foundation was replaced with concrete along with additional improvements to the structure • Open to the public from sunrise to sunset, the Watson School Historic Park features not only the school house, but the surrounding park area as well. Adjacent to the park is Christo & Jeanne-Claude Running Fence Park, commemorating the Running Fence art project, led by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which featured a fabric fence that stretched for 24.5 miles from 1972 to 1976 • Today, Watson School remains in its original condition on its original site. Although its interior is closed to the public, the park itself is open to visitors all year around • Know more? Please comment below! • 📷: @ruby.mischa ✍: @kelly.murray 📰: @wikipedia + parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov • #AccidentallyWesAnderson​ ​#AccidentalWesAnderson​ ​#WesAnderson​ ​#VscoArchitecture​ ​#Vscotravel #TravelMore #WatsonSchool #Bodega #California #UnitedStates🇺🇸

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1. Accidentally Wes / @accidentallywesanderson

This has to be my most favourite ever account. It’s beautiful in all the typical Instagram ways – but also pays homage to one of our times most stylish directors – Wes Anderson. Anderson’s movie are incredibly distinct in styling, evoking classic vintage feels and an unattainable aesthetic that’s highly unattainable in a real-life scenario, but looks impressive on screen. Some of his most beautifully styled films include The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom and The Darjeeling Express, to name a few. What’s interesting about this particular account though is not that these are images taken from Wes’s films, but actually a completely unrelated collection of ever-updating images that evoke that classic Wes feels. As a big fan of his, I play this game a lot in real life! Toronto’s metro system, San Fransisco’s tram system, an old lighthouse, a retro-looking sign – I love it when life imitates Wes! Followers can submit images from around the globe and what we end up with is a smorgasbord of quirky, pastel delight.

 

 

2. Passenger Shaming / @passengershaming

Moving swiftly away in a totally non-Instagrammy direction is Passenger Shaming – ever travellers guilty pleasure. This account is also submission-based, but rather than show pretty pastels and delicious symmetry, it instead highlights the indiscretions of airline passengers around the world. No doubt there is something on here almost anyone can relate to. Cheesy feet on you footrest perhaps? Or a gin-induced breakdown mid-flight? And then there was that passenger who tried to dry underwear using the air con valve above her seat, much to the detest of everyone everywhere ever! I like a good comedy ‘gram account – it is important we remember the reality of travel amidst the lavender fields and yoga handstands.

 

 

3. Desserted in Paris / @desserted_in_paris

Purely Paris-based this account is a must for anyone planning an upcoming trip to the city of love. Or, like me, anyone who just likes to see delicious things! Desserted in Paris features the city’s most delightful patisserie items – something France is well known for. Some of them genuinely are miniature works of art, and it is my hope one day I’m going to go there and try them all. What’s particularly cute about this account is that its run by a pastry chef, no less – so an authority on the best Parisian mums, we can all agree. But also that chef Tal Spiegel matches each intricate pastry with a pair of quirky matching shoes, which makes for a great aesthetic and a very unique combination of subject matter! He gives a small detail on each delight and tags the restaurant so you can make a note for next time you visit.

 

 

4. Cabin Porn / @cabinporn

Some of you might remember a coffee table book of the same name that went just a teeny bit viral – well, these are the same guys – but now with an ever-changing variety of cabins to suit all tastes. There’s just something magical about cabins – so simple, classical and often modest – yet enchanting and homely at the same time. I think these kinds of cabin fantasises stem back from fairy stories in our youth – we all still secretly want to run away and live in a gingerbread house! With the rise of Airbnb, glamping and the tiny house movement the spec for cabin porn ranges from fusty little sheds, all the way to luxe glass igloos. Perfect for some inspiration for your next weekend away – and to feed your inner child.

 

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This is Willow. She’s about four months old and has the floppy legs to corroborate this claim. Willow hitched a ride to Canmore with Anna-the-human (who runs @garciarescue, where I found monster). When our buddy Anna (the human) brought Willow into our place, Willow (the adoptable puppy) barked at me while I exchanged greetings with Anna (the human) while Anna (the dog) snarled at Willow (the intruder) while simultaneously trying to say hi to her dear old buddy, Anna (the monster saver). After the necessary salutations were completed, I took Willow for a tour of Banff (she just arrived from the flat land, so I imagine she was pretty impressed). She rode on the middle armrest in the car with her floppy paws on my coffee. We geared up for a walk in snow deep enough to provide a lot of exercise for an animal of her dexterity. When I opened the hatch on the car, she looked at me inquisitively before getting to her feet and jumping out with only the slightest hesitation. On our walk, she kept busy biting and directing the pesky tether that was restricting her freedom while also jumping on me/at me/near me (she likes to jump). If she wanted my attention, she would stand, put two paws on my leg, and aim her puppy-dog eyes into mine. If she wanted something to eat, she resembled a great white the way they are most pictured: a full body length above the surface, teeth bared (target: my hand). We ventured onto a huge windy lake to inspect the ice quality. Willow tucked behind me for the strongest gusts, but otherwise seemed to be in her element. After her mountain tour, Willow found herself back with Anna and Beans. She paid almost no attention to Beans other than a sniff. The same can’t be said for Anna; not paying attention to Anna is a feat I haven’t yet witnessed anyone do. The two young pups gnawed on each other until it was time to give one back. Do you know someone who would love to grow old(er) with this brave pup? Willow is available for adoption from @garciarescue. #adoptable Willow shark bites to all for supporting this home-finding project in every way, and Anna (the human) for everything you do for so many pups.

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5. Trails and Bears / @trailsandbears

This ‘gram account I only came across recently and its quickly become a firm fave as it ticks all my Instagram wants. Impressive travel scenery – check! Cute little doggies – check! And on top of that performs a service to rehome the dogs featured in its content. Creator Rachael Rodgers works with several animal shelters in her native Canada to showcase these wily pups and giving information on their circumstance, age and health issues as well as shooting gorgeous content to show off these beautiful creatures and hopefully fast track their adoption into loving forever homes. It’s such a great way to use the platform, she also helps others to use Instagram for adoptions too in a purchasable guide. You can volunteer to help her cause, donate money or simply support them by liking and commenting.