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Faking A Vacation: The Ultimate Photoshop Scam

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    If you've been planning a costly vacation, you might want to hit pause on all that plotting. We've just discovered a genius way to save a ton of money, without sacrificing those epic photo moments meant to incite social media jealousy; it's called Photoshop. Perhaps you've heard of it? Consider the Zilla van den Born school of international travel. The Dutch student and graphic designer packed her suitcase and told her friends and family she was leaving on a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. Then, she spent the next 42 days holed up in her apartment Photoshopping herself into postcard scenes. She never once stepped foot outside Amsterdam — and her Facebook cohort completely bought it. (Check out the comments here, if you happen to speak Dutch.)

    Was she avoiding a family reunion? Trying to escape a stalker? Not at all. What sounds like the fourth film in the Bourne series was actually a university project to see how far she could really take photo manipulation. The truth is twisted everywhere from fashion magazines to filtered sunsets these days, and Zilla wanted to show how social media updates often aren't what they seem.

    While duping the people she loves seems a bit cruel, we have to applaud van den Born's dedication to authenticity. She prepared traditional East Asian meals in her kitchen to mimic the cuisine she could have been enjoying on her jaunt abroad, and even wore a disguise when venturing out of her house to remain undetected. After finishing her project, Zilla released videos that reveal some of her behind-the-scenes process. She'd obviously taken a few notes from Lisbeth Salander — or maybe it was the other way around.

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  2. Photo: Zilla van den Born/REX USA.

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  3. Photo: Zilla van den Born/REX USA.

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  4. Photo: Zilla van den Born/REX USA.

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  5. Photo: Zilla van den Born/REX USA.

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