The Pictures I Didn’t Take

Instagram is a lie! Well, not a lie exactly, but it definitely doesn’t tell the whole story. If you have spent any time on social media, I am sure you have seen the “Instagram vs. reality” posts.  Ones where a traveler shows themselves soaking in a beautiful, secluded hot spring. Looks perfect. Until you pan out to see the hot spring is smack dab in the middle of a garbage dump.

While it’s true that I delete a ton of pictures before I post what I deem the best shot of me (we’re all our own worst critic), I feel that I am posting an accurate view of my journey along the Pan American highway. I have discovered is that it is not what I post, but what I can’t post I wish I could share with you. The pictures I don’t take. The images that are captured only in my memory.

The man with leathered skin and no front teeth tossing his fishing net skillfully from a bridge. Something I am sure he has done since his childhood.

A young father on a bicycle with his two young sons, maybe two and four years old. One in front on the bars and one behind holding tightly to his father’s waist. They wave and smile with their whole faces as we drive by.

The baby, barely old enough to sit up, happily playing in the dirt while her mother makes tacos by the roadside.

The inside jokes passed between me and my husband that would leave any outsider bewildered. And the patience he shows me every single day.

An entire family flying down the freeway on a motorbike or the motorcyclist with—who knows what—stacked six-feet wide and two feet above his head.

The stray and her puppies alongside the road that cause me to “ohh” and “aww” while Kevin rolls his eyes as I ask yet again if we can pick one up.

The smells, oh how I wish I could share (most) of the smells with you. The fresh tortillas from the tortilleria or bread from the panaderia. The fresh-cut grasses at the monuments scythed with machetes from the local laborers. Even the fish from the market at the seaside, though not lovely, imbeds a memory of a wonderful day buying fresh shrimp that lasted us for four meals.

I wish you could experience every aspect of this nomadic life along with me, but I can’t share the pictures I don’t take. I will continue to post pictures—well the ones where I don’t look homeless—but know there is so much more to my journey than can be shared on social media.

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