Dutch Woman Uses Facebook to Deceive Family and Friends She Is on Trip to South-East Asia without Even Leaving Amsterdam

25-year-old Zilla van den Born managed to fool her friends and family into believing that she was on a five-week vacation in South-East Asia, when, in reality, she was at home in Amsterdam the whole time, clicking seemingly authentic holiday photographs and putting them up on Facebook to create the illusion!

Zilla devised the elaborate lie as a part of her University project through which she wanted to show how Facebook status messages and photographs are not accurate indicators of real life. “I did this to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media,” she explained. “Thereby we create an online ideal world which reality can no longer meet. My goal was to prove how common and easy it is to distort reality.”

“Everybody knows that pictures of models are manipulated. But we often overlook the fact that we manipulate reality also in our own lives,” she added, wisely.


In the five weeks that Zilla was supposed to be ‘journeying’ through Asia, she made people believe that she’d really been to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Her family came to see her off at the airport, but she later took a train back to her apartment in Amsterdam.

For the next 42 days, she stayed indoors while cleverly photoshopping herself into photographs of tropical resorts and beautiful beaches. She was able to portray herself doing exciting things like diving and snorkeling (actually shot in her own swimming pool and photoshopped to make them look more exotic), or traveling in traditional tuk-tuks.


All the exotic Asian meals featured in her photographs were actually cooked by Zilla herself in the comfort of her own kitchen or ordered at Asian restaurants in her home city. A photographs of ZIlla standing next to a Buddhist monk was actually taken at an authentic Thai Buddhist temple, only one located in Amsterdam, of course.

Zilla even created the illusion of a Thai hotel room in her own bedroom, using old Christmas decorations and an umbrella, to fool her parents during Skype sessions. And to make the whole thing even more believable, she sent text messages to her family and friends in the middle of the night. She also sent them Asian souvenirs bought from local shops, as well as photos taken at the Artis Zoo and at a butterfly garden.


The plan worked beautifully – except for her boyfriend, who was in on the plan from the beginning, no one ever suspected she was still in Holland, let alone in her own home. They didn’t even notice the Dutch stamp on the ‘Thai’ postcards she sent them.

When Zilla finally revealed the truth to her family and friends, she captured all their reactions on video. Needless to say, they were truly flabbergasted. They collectively displayed a range of emotions – shock, disbelief, confusion, and in some cases even outrage. One video clip shows an old woman, who seems to be Zilla’s grandmother, pointing and yelling at the computer.

Zilla’s experiment is as impressive as it is scary. It just goes to show you how easy it is to create a completely believable illusion in this day and age, and how powerful tools like Photoshop and Facebook can be.

Photos: Zilla van der Born

Source: AD.nl via Kickass Trips