I truly believe in living the moment to the fullest when you explore a new place but with the growing popularity of selfie sticks (urgh!) and the cultural need to take a photo of EVERYTHING, as if without proof, that meal never happened, can there be more freedom from simply leaving the camera and guidebooks in the hotel once in a while?
In a recent trip to Brussels with a fellow wonderlusting, curly haired “kinkdred spirit”, we headed down to the African quarter because the guidebook we’d purchased before the trip had advised us it was an area in Brussels not to be missed. However, the restaurants the book recommended didn’t appeal to us at first glance so we took our chances and headed into a side road where we found a small African eatery filled with locals and the most amazing smells.
The waiters spoke next to no English and our French was really put to the test. The meal was tasty and filled with spices that up until this day I’ve not been able to replicate nor put my finger on what they were! I don’t have a picture of me and my friend in the restaurant, no birds eye view of our meal or any other meal from the trip posted on Instagram or saved on a hard drive somewhere at home. I don’t need to, this memory is permanently fixed in my brain, all I need is to pass an African restaurant and it all comes back!
There are some once in a lifetime moments that you really want to capture on camera and keep for years to come, the time you went swimming with sharks might be worth adding to your scrapbook to show your Grandchildren in years to come when they think you’re ‘past it’ and no fun. Then again, a bottle of sand on the mantlepiece, scooped up from the beach after your amazing sharp swim may be another option. It’s a conversation starter and could be the perfect opening to you sharing a wonderful story with your family and friends about your experience.
I love my camera. I love taking photos to fill albums and also to populate my blog posts but that being said, there are times when I just want to fully immerse myself in the experience and forget about capturing it to show to people back home who could in all honestly, really care less about me standing next to a giant boulder shaped like a panda. Sometimes you’ve really got to be there to really understand it after all.
On your next trip, how about heading off the beaten path with your books and cameras either deep at the bottom of your bag, so you have to consciously make a decision to grab for them, or if you’re really feeling brave you can leave them in the safe at your hotel (the cameras, not the books!) for a few hours whilst you just soak up the moment and just be?