As Sydneysiders complain about the Instagram famous attractions in their own backyard and as Byron Bay locals shake their heads at Melbourne ‘climate refugees’, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a year of division.
There is one thing that unites almost every Australian, however, and that is our love for Bali. The island of the gods, the archipelago of excess, though there are some embarrassing assumptions Australians tend to make about Bali, it’s hard to deny we have genuine affection for the joint.
There is one slightly sordid reason we have developed an even greater love for Bali in recent years though. No: it’s not the epic waves – they’ve always been there – but rather the opportunity to provoke FOMO in family and friends.
How? Chiefly via social media, which has really exploded in recent years, with Instagram and Youtube – for many – replacing Tripadvisor, The Lonely Planet and Google for travellers looking for guides, inspiration and visualisation for their upcoming trips.
This, alongside the fact that luxury experiences that might cost an arm and a leg back home only cost an arm in Bali, has seen many Australians develop a penchant for splashing out on luxury experiences in Bali they wouldn’t dream of paying for back home, in order to get a better ‘jealousy induced per dollar spend’ ratio.
Enter: the above photo. Shot at the beautiful Alaya Resort Ubud, and posted to the @beautifulhotels Instagram page in 2019, the image depicts ‘style, travel and life’ Instagram influencer @taramichellebrose enjoying a floating breakfast in the pool (a phenomenon many Australians have become avid fans of too in recent years).
The caption? “We will take this breakfast for one, thank you.”
Before you throw your organic Matcha at our heads: hear us out. The subject of the above photo, @taramichellebrose, may be California based, and may not have been specifically intending to send her followers into a spin of FOMO and self-loathing (DMARGE found this image via the Alaya Resort Ubud geotag, and does not claim to know why she posted it). She also may be able to afford luxury experiences all over the world, not just in Bali.
However, she, we believe, perfectly represents this concept of ~flaunting~ which we have found ourselves (in significantly less photogenic fashion) falling prey to over and over again in recent years. She is also far from alone in her FOMO inducing post, with 2,076 images appearing on Instagram in total with the hashtag ‘alayaresortubud‘ and a seemingly never-ending stream of images cropping under a geotag of the same name.
It’s also worth noting that five days in a deluxe room at Alaya Resort Ubud in June 2021 (a typically popular time for Bali, despite the current travel complications) will cost you $318.51, while five days at Elements Of Byron (in Australia’s Byron Bay) at the start of February (a typically popular time for Byron) will cost you $3,225, judging by the quotes provided by each resort at the time of writing.
In any case, countless other resorts all over Ubud and Bali, with rooms going for similar prices, are seeing similar phenomenons. The result? Australians (and tourists in general) seem to be working themselves into something of a social media frenzy, with Instagram’s jealousy industrial complex hitting height after height.
So: could this be the ‘real reason’ Australians can’t wait to return to Bali once we’re allowed to once again flit the globe? The ‘real reason’ anyone travels anywhere these days? Sad and cynical or smart and on the money? You be the judge…