I read an article recently on The Huffington Post called “15 Ways the iPhone has Sucked The Fun Out Of Traveling.” It was an easy read, but I didn’t really think about the content of the article until last night. Here is their #1:
- You look at the Parthenon, and instead of thinking “Whoa!” or “How historical and gorgeous!” you think, “Which filter am I gonna use?!”
I’ve been to the Parthenon, and at the time I did not have a mobile phone with me but I did have a digital camera. I think this assertion applies to both digital cameras as well as mobile phones that have cameras.
It is so easy to take pictures now. And the expectation is that these pictures end up on blogs, Instagram, Facebook etc. Is travel about taking pictures? Is the taking of photos now the dominant experience?
Admitting it is the first step…….I have been (occasionally) guilty of being too focused on taking pictures of what I see instead of really seeing and experiencing where I am and what I am doing. And now that I’ve admitted it, I hope to make a change.
However, I think there are times when you do need to take a quick picture and try to enjoy it later. Have you ever visited the Mona Lisa at the Louvre? Because of the huge crowds that tend to gather around this painting, it is very difficult to really spend time enjoying it. You need to get in and out quickly before someone shoves you out of the way so they can take a picture.
I visited the Hermitage in St. Petersburg Russia this past June. I was part of a tour group, and therefore not in control of …anything. I wasn’t given the time enjoy the art or the architecture of the building, plus it was incredibly crowded inside. I took as many pictures as I could, and as fast as possible. I regret that I couldn’t really see the two da Vinci’s on display there, but I have decent pictures of them. (Yes, there is a theme here – love Leonardo!)
I really want to return to Madrid and visit the Reina Sofia museum. I’ve been there once, but I arrived shortly before the buliding was closing for the day. I ran around a few key rooms taking as many pictures as I could in a short amount of time. Sadly, I did not spend any significant amount of time enjoying a single piece of art there. Yes, it is great to have the pictures; but that isn’t really what the experience is about. Right?
People travel for a variety of reasons. Some may travel just for the pictures. I am not one of those people. I travel for the experiences, and it is nice to have pictures to remember them by.
Do we all need a picture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC? No, but maybe we’d like a picture of us at these famous sites. But with the internet and today’s technology we don’t even need to visit a place anymore to have a picture of it, or a picture of us in front of it. So why are people so focused on getting the shot, to the point where they could be missing out on the travel experience? (And, I am not trying to generalize here.)
I do think it is incredibly sad if people are missing out on part of the travel experience because they are too busy simply taking pictures. Holiday/vacation time is precious, especially to Americans who typically get very little of it.
Today, just take time to smell the roses. (Bernard Clive)
This picture was taken by me at the Chateau of Clos Luce – the final home of Leonardo da Vinci in France. And yes. I did take time to smell the roses that day. It was a beautiful day, and taking pictures on this particular day was an afterthought – not my primary focus.
Lastly….this blog post made much more sense at 4 am when I first started thinking about what I wanted to write.