Our contributing blogger Lisa is back with some sage advice about living in the moment when traveling.
I often think back on the vacations I took when I was younger. I can fondly recall embracing the idea of a “technology-free” week, as I sent my final text messages and updated my Facebook status for the last time before departing to whatever destination I was headed to. I loved being unreachable. I wasn’t distracted, I wasn’t concerned with checking email; I was content. However, over the years, technology slowly crept back into my vacations. It forced me to examine how we use technology while we’re supposed to be thousands of miles away, if not literally, then at least mentally. Social media integration has improved storytelling and created platforms for travelers to showcase their adventures.
Years ago when a photo was taken, there was no ability to view it until after it was developed. And even then, most photos lived only in physical photo albums. Now, technology has evolved, giving us the ability to change filters, crop images, enhance photos and instantaneously share them on platforms that can be viewed around the world. It led me to the question: How do we disconnect when photography is such a crucial component of traveling?
Being a passionate photographer, an advocate of social media, and most recently a travel publicist, I find myself embracing social media. I couldn’t imagine not having Instagram on a vacation now to document my travels and to update the rest of the world on my whereabouts and adventures.
Social sharing is such a crucial part to the travel industry. It captures experiences, creates memories, and documents some of the best parts of any adventure. However, being attached to our phones and mobile devices causes us to miss out on what’s right around us. Rather than watching the sunset, we are trying to capture the perfect shot. Rather than enjoying a peaceful hike, we are whipping out the camera to film every step. Are we missing out on the moments because we’re so obsessed with trying to share them with everyone else?
Snap It Now, Upload It Later
There’s no denying that your camera and phone will be like second and third travelers with you. So take them out when necessary, snap the photo, and when you get the winning shot, put it away. There will be plenty of time after your trip, or even as you’re getting ready for bed, to upload the photos and give the image the justice of proper tagging and labeling on social media.
The Rules of Five
I am extremely selective about which photos are shared onto social media platforms. I will try to only upload a maximum of five per vacation on Instagram. For me, Instagram is like a sacred hub for the “best of the best.” What’s great is that there are apps that create collages, allowing users to include multiple photos in one post. Twitter is great for sharing a quick anecdote that can tag locations and utilize hashtags that other travelers might search for. Again, no more than about five per excursion. Facebook is broader, and you can create albums per trip, allowing multiple photos to be uploaded.
If people were able to survive without all of these new digitally savvy apps all those years ago, then we certainly can too. Travelers should work on really being in the moment and exploring the city that they’re in, without worrying about capturing every single detail.