Cheers to the Non-traditional Travel Pictures!

Lubeck: non-traditional pictures
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The digital landscape is completely saturated with beautifully crafted pictures of iconic landmarks, gorgeous people who always seem to be laughing at something, and idyllic scenarios. They propagate a certain type of lifestyle, an unattainable standard of living for most people, and might even be the catalyst that stirs up negative emotions of envy and sadness for viewers/readers.


I love looking at these pictures. I think they’re beautiful and shared numerous times for a reason. I know that I might not be able to take the same type of pictures during my lifetime, but they serve a purpose for me: they open my mind to beautiful locations that I might not have known otherwise, they expose me to a different type of style, editing, and composition, and give me ideas for my future travels and self-taught photography. Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do? Yes, and it is completely possible to enjoy looking at these types of pictures, even if they’re not my particular style! I don’t possess the “ideal” body type that dominates the travel industry propaganda, I don’t live the iconic lifestyle where I party my way around the world, and you know what? I’m good with that! I’m an individual and don’t need to compare myself to anyone. I’m living my own life.


I’ve been going through a lot of my old pictures recently, backing them up, sifting through duplicates, and organizing them. It’s been a fun arduous process, and has been a wonderful journey down memory lane. One of the big trends that I’ve noticed in my picture-taking endeavors is this:


I love taking non-traditional travel pictures!


Molfsee: non-traditional pictures
Fooling around with the whale bones outside a replica schoolhouse in an open-air museum in Germany


Some of my pictures are blurry. Some of them are mid-laugh or right after I’ve done something stupid. A few of them are of me making fun of myself and my friends.


Bottom line: they’re fun and remind me of some of the best times of travel. They’re not typically posed pictures where I’ve had the time to take gobs of them, review them, and then readjust. They’re raw. They’re natural (for the most part…I’m sure some of them started with “hey wouldn’t it be funny if…”) and they’re in-the-moment. These the type of pictures that make me laugh as soon as I look at them.


Munich: non-traditional pictures
I was on a bike tour in Munich when we passed this statue. I threw my camera to one of my bike-mates and said something along the lines of “I’m going to pose like this statue. Make sure you don’t cut off my feet!”


Sure, I’ve got some of the other kind. The posed. The edited. The typical travel pictures which ARE BEAUTIFUL. But this post isn’t about those. This post is about all those candid, funny, weird, and often “what was I even doing” pictures. Can’t they get some of the love too?


Let me ask you this: how often have you seen manicured pictures of people eating gorgeous plates of food? As a novice foodie, I LOVE THEM! Stunning plates of charcuterie, exotic fruit platters (with every fruit cut open?) and dainty little cuts of whatever else is around…love them all! However, I don’t eat like that on a regular basis. How much more realistic would it be to have a nice picture of someone just going to town on a donut or slice of pizza?


Ice cream in Potsdam: non-traditional pictures
Germany had one of the hottest summers on record in 2014 and I was in the thick of it. I literally DESTROYED this gelato cone within minutes…only because it was melting…of course…


Big Jud's: non-traditional pictures
This Big Jud burger is bigger than my head! Oh, and it was SO DELISH! You know you’d look at it the way I did too, don’t lie. BTW…could only eat 1/4 of it!


Sometimes I just want to take a bazillion pictures where I’m making weird faces. My mom gets so frustrated with me sometimes, and I just have to laugh it off. I have a friend who is always taking pictures with his wife, and I kid you not – they’re posing the exact same way in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. In all seriousness, they remind of the kinds of pictures we had to take at Olan Mills or something back in the early 90s, just with differing backgrounds. Sure, the backgrounds are stunning, but when you hold the pictures side-by-side or lay them out in a photo book, there’s no variety. It’s like a giant Toyota dealership with the same make and model of car, just in different shades of grey. Can you please give me something, I don’t know, pink?


Lubeck: non-traditional pictures
I’m not sure what I was doing in this picture, but whatever it was, I was WORKIN’ IT! The streets of Lübeck, Germany have never looked so good!


Sweden: non-traditional pictures
On the road to Sweden…sometimes you just have to keep yourself occupied during long car trips!


I think that in a society where a lot of major influencers have the ability to promote only the crème de la crème of travel, it’s just as important for people to see the reality of adventures. I don’t want to come across as a jerk, but I love hearing when notable influencers have the same issues that I encounter. Not that I’m enjoying their pain or misfortune by any stretch of the imagination, but rather, knowing that we experience the same hardships humanizes them and their accounts. Not all of us “glow” after a tough hike. Not all of us can pull off a perfect pout with a snorkel in our mouth. Not all of us have mastered the “I just rolled out of bed” glamorous look. Sometimes the fisherman wiggles the fish while you’re going in for that “picture-perfect fish kiss!”


Hawaii: non-traditional pictures
Finally finishing the hike down and back from the Kalaupapa Leper Colony on Molokai, Hawaii. Hiking in paradise isn’t always glamorous. Wait…is it ever?


USVI: non-traditional pictures
Look what I found at the bottom of the ocean! Well, what our guide found and had us hold. Seriously, the US Virgin Islands are stunning and have amazing spots to dive and snorkel!


Prague: non-traditional pictures
This is my interpretation of the whole “I woke up like this” movement. Prague didn’t know what hit it when I stepped out at 6am! Yes, I do my own hair and makeup, thank you very much.


Seattle: non-traditional pictures
My friend and I arrived at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington super-early to watch the fish-tossers in action. One of them called me over to give the fish a kiss, you know, for luck…not like it was going to turn into a handsome prince. I tried 3 times. Every time I went in for a smooch, the fisherman wiggled the fish back to life and I just couldn’t even!


One of my favorite things to do for a picture is to use a prop. No, I’m not talking about a hat or a weird thing from “Whose Line is it Anyway?” I’m talking about using whatever is around me that helps tell a story, reminds me of an event, or just makes me giggle. Does it always make sense? No. Do people give me weird looks when I use the prop? Most of the time. The best part? I don’t remember them and am confident they have no idea who I am, therefore, there’s no need to be embarrassed!


LSU: non-traditional pictures
Help! The LSU Tiger statue is going to eat me! Not really, but a trip to the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was a fun trip!


Yellowstone: Non-traditional pictures
Playing peek-a-boo while staying “Bear-aware” become our mantra when my friend and I were in Jackson Hole


New Orleans: non-traditional pictues
Of course I just HAD to pretend-dance with a giant crawfish in New Orleans, Louisiana! Wouldn’t you? He’s just out there, waiting for a dance partner!


St. Thomas: non-traditional pictures
Oh, come on! Who wouldn’t go running to the stocks outside of Blackbeard’s Castle in St. Thomas, USVI?


Alcatraz: non-traditional pictures
Although I’ve never seen Chicago, I was all about joking around with a “Cell Block Tango” picture. Alcatraz in San Francisco never was quite the same after!


So…what’s the point of this post?


Is it to bash the manicured pictures that we’re used to seeing? No.


Is it to invoke a sense of disappointment in the travel industry for propagating an unattainable lifestyle? Not at all.


My point, dear friends, is to encourage everyone to let their silly side show. Not every part of life is picture-perfect, so to speak. Life is silly. Life is crazy. Life is hectic. Life is fun. Celebrate it! 


It’s really okay to share your non-traditional pictures. I don’t like taking “normal” pictures, therefore my scrapbooks are full of photo-bombs, wide-open-mouth smiles, weird faces, props, and anything else I can find to spice up life. And you know what? I love looking at them, sharing them, and watching other people smile!


Tivoli: non-traditional pictures
Staring into the eyes of a dragon was so worth it! I loved spending time in Tivoli in Copenhagen and laughed with my friends for hours before finally snapping this!



Seattle: non-traditional pictures
Not sure how I feel about the Troll Under the Bridge in Seattle, Washington


USVI: non-traditional pictures
Every other visitor to Blackbeard’s Castle on St. Thomas, USVI, just took a “regular” picture with the sword. I really wanted to wield it like a pirate…and you know what? As soon as I swung it around, everyone else started to take pictures!


Potsdam: non-traditional pictures
While in Germany, my friends and I would always try to photo-bomb each other’s pictures. I got them back while visiting Sanssouci in Potsdam! Honeymustardeyeball…you’re on in 5!


Yellowstone: non-traditional pictures
Not every selfie has to be glamorous. While in Yellowstone, we didn’t understand what the traffic jam was about and why we were at a dead-stop…until Mr. Bison came sauntering down. OF COURSE we opened the sunroof for me to grab a selfie!


Neuschwanstein: non-traditional pictures
We’ve all seen those glamorous shots of Neuschwanstein from afar. I’ve taken a boatload of them as well. But when I got close enough, you better believe I ran right up to it and gave it a BIG SMOOCH! And then gargled…


What are your thoughts on pictures? Do you have any non-traditional ones that are just over-the-top?


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49 thoughts on “Cheers to the Non-traditional Travel Pictures!

  1. Rachelle, I LOVE THESE. They’re hilarious and just SO realistic too (especially with the food. I mean you pose exactly how we’re thinking when we see food!). The pretty pictures get so boring and old after awhile, and these non-traditional ones have so much life to them!

  2. Haha well, I am guilty of trying to share my “prettiest” pictures but I admit that in a way, your non conventional pics might be more memorable in the end. Beautiful pics are all over the internet and it’s cool to show your human side instead of manucured shots. I think the influencers should provide a mix of images, showing both inspirational pics and the reality of their life on the road. But on the other hand, keeping the dream alive is their business so…

    1. And I totally agree. The manicured pictures are stunning and of course need to be used for marketing. It’s just fun to see the other side! 🙂

  3. I love the photos – I love how fun, silly and natural they are. Perfectionist photographs are nice, but sometimes it’s good to see the more fun silly side of things.

  4. haha very intertaining post!! so happy pictures! The great thing with such pictures is that there is always a fun story to go with them and you are sure to remember the atmosphere around each shot.

  5. I so love this post and laughed so hard by looking at every single one of your photos! You should definitely open an Instagram account with them, I bet you will have so much success! I envy you because I am rubbish at taking photos. I am not photogenic at all and I feel awkward in front of the camera. So I prefer to be on the other side of it 🙂

  6. You’ve just gained a new Instagram follower Rachelle, because I enjoyed everyone of your photos! I agree that it’s all become too cliche, and honestly, I’m tired of seeing the same manicured, heavily post-production ‘travel’ shots. I’m not bashing either, I enjoy more the photos of the places and things to see, do, eat, than ‘look at me, look at meeee!’ Great post, and really enlightening!

  7. I love all the pictures… True, many a times we do end up taking those picture perfect shots… I’m no exception. However sometimes I too try to click some goofy pics. Once I remember, in a vast expanse of greenery, I started jumping so much and asked my guy to keep clicking those jumping shots… 😉

  8. I agree to what you are saying. Most of the pictures on Instagram have nothing to do with real life. I love your unconventional pictures because they are more real and relatable. I hope the trend of perfect pictures wear off soon. I am a fan of imperfection!

  9. Absolutely love these & the whole idea behind this post! We get so lost trying to attain perfection as is sold to us, and sometime to sell perfection to others as travel bloggers that we most definitely forget what it is like to be real and unnerved by the norms! More power to you & even more pictures like these 🙂

  10. So lively and realistic photos! I loved how you copy the sculpture…those bear, lion and holding sword one. Big burger is really too big. These pictures depicts total fun and madness.

  11. I love these. Reminds me of the type of pictures I took as a a teenager. Now I am hardly ever in my pictures. I tend to be behind the camera and focus more on the scenery around me. I do love capturing the silly side of my girls though as they make great memories. I guess we all have our own style and it may not be the “perfect” style but it is perfect for each of us. Its good to be ourselves and be real.

  12. This is the BEST! You can definitely see your spunky personality in these photos. That’s what travel is all about – enjoying your time visiting a new place! You will cherish these photos for years to come!

  13. Wow…I loved the idea of taking non-traditional travel pictures. Our digital space is completely filled with the cliche travel pictures, so the idea has a uniqueness.

  14. This is very refreshing. I get really tired of seeing the same staged Instagram pics, especially when the models featured are outdoors! It’s amazing how some people can look like they’re on a photo shoot when they’re at the top of a mountain or in the ocean! Keep it real! 🙂

  15. Hiking is NOT glamorous and I’m glad to finally find a photo that shows what it’s really like! Glad these pics remind you of great moments while traveling! PS: I live in Seattle and I’m sure the Fremont Troll smelled like pee!

  16. I love these, Rachelle!!! So sooo fun and looks like you had a great time posing too hahaa. Totally loving the message that you’re spreading here because I love being silly in photos myself as well!

  17. Haha. Rachelle you seriously do enjoy your travels to the fullest! Such lovely pictures!!! And that big burger OMG…managing to eat even 1/4th of that is an achievement I feel. And you visited Seattle 😀 I love the troll too ^_^

  18. These are great! Though not my style, every once in a while, I’ll do non-traditional photos because it’s good to show a goofy side and not be TOO serious. Nice pictures are nice but a fun personality goes a long way. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  19. Your first picture is a good one!!! I think making pictures like this can make visiting an attraction more fun. For example the statue you took a picture with is just a statue but making funny photos around it makes it a more interesting statue to visit. The Big Jud burger was huge, I think I would have only managed to eat a quarter of it too!

  20. You are one of the most fun and quirky travel bloggers in the present times. Look at your pictures- no inhibitions, no fucks given! I am super impressed with your work and I am so sure this makes for such amazing travel memories. I am motivated to do the same on my next travel 😀

  21. I love your silly pictures, Rachelle! Looks like you had fun at those places and made the trip so much more memorable. I like the message you want to convey: showing the human side of the experience!

  22. hahaha…i totally get your point don;t worry. i think it adds character to your photos ad mine when i just let go. after all your travels are your experience and its cool to express them. i always have the unconventional ones in there. why the heck not?!

  23. Haha this is why I look forward to reading your blogs all the time. You had me cracking up with that first photo. Its true what they say that a picture can say a thousand words. And I love that you are so candid about this because we all can’t be bothered with taking the perfect travel photos, especially when we are enjoying ourselves too much!

  24. What. a great post and I totally agree. Sometimes we need to let go of perfection and be a little silly because fun is what life is about.

  25. Your pics are hilarious and this is all so true! I am always trying to get some perfect pictures, but sometimes the best ones are the non-glamourous, non-perfect, slightly goofy ones! Thanks for reminding me of that!

  26. OMG YES!!Completely agree 100000%! I started doing a #don’tbefakefriday on my Instagram where I post some funny, not so traditional pictures of myself to show that travel ain’t always glitter and gold. You are exactly right, it humanizes people so you know both sides to travel!! Love your pics!

  27. The first picture made an instant connect and I loved all of them. This post brings us all back to reality, tells us not to pretend to be perfect and also inspires us to make the most in life. Your pictures were so real and funny. I am sure they will bring back amazing memories when you will look down on them after a few years.

  28. These made me laugh! It’s refreshing to see “real” photos as opposed to the typical instagram friendly ones of girls in floaty dresses and floppy hats!

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  30. I love these photos! It really shows how much fun you’re having! I especially love the “not glamorous” hiking photo in Hawaii. That was exactly how I looked!

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