Madeline Zotter has built up a 12,000-strong Instagram following while posting stunning travel photos from her hikes around Australia and the world.
But by sharing the locations of these so-called hidden gems on her Waterfall Wandering page, the 22-year-old from Narrabri, New South Wales, has become the target of online abuse.
You see, there are people out there who don’t seem to understand that travel forums and tourism websites exist, and think that by sharing the locations her photos were taken, the areas will somehow become “trashed”.
Over Easter, the angry comments became too much for Madeline, who last week shared a message calling out the trolls.
“I’m just going to kindly ask if everyone with an unkind, negative or straight up nasty thought to please STOP,” she wrote.
“This weekend alone I received four abusive, unkind or negative messages because I wrote the location of a place.”
“I am human, your words HURT and I spent a good part of my Easter (and this morning crying).”
Madeline said that her page had been an “outlet” for her since creating it in 2015, but recently it had become “the main reason I have been sad”.
The traveller said she could understand that people didn’t want the places she visited to become “trashed”, but pointed out that she wasn’t giving her followers information they couldn’t already find out for themselves.
“To find any of these spots you just need to log onto a NSW [national parks] website and look up the area (so they’re not really that secret).”
Meet the woman who’s shutting down trolls by turning their words into cake. Post continues.
Two days after her initial post, Madeline shared a quote from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, as a message to her followers she was not going to let unkind words get her down.
“The key to a good life is not giving a f*ck about more; it’s about giving a f*ck about less, giving a f*ck about only what is true and immediate and important.”
She also said that since speaking to news sites about the bullying, she’s received “so many kind messages” from loved ones and strangers that it “completely overrides” the negative ones.
“It has really reminded me how much good there really is in this world.”
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