Can a traveler of this modern day go unplugged? What if we tried to experience traveling like we did before the eruption of communication and electronic technology. We have so many ways to keep connected to home now , other than being in a different location it’s like we hardly left.
Does Anyone Mail Postcards Anymore?
We can be in constant contact, whether it is calling on our cellphone, texting, or by Skype and email. Travelers can even buy a GPS device so that there friends and family can track their exact whereabouts at all times. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of this technology has created benefit for traveling, and even improved safety. But hasn’t it somewhat diminished the romantic aspects of travel. How many people actually take the time to buy postcards and mail them anymore? I used to be so excited to receive a postcard from someone that was traveling. It had special meaning that they took the time to purchase it, write a message by hand and then buy postage to send it off.
I Miss Looking Through Photo Albums
I can remember traveling before digital photography. Firstly I think you had to try to be a much better photographer and have more thought about the images you decided to shoot. More time was spent enjoying a place rather than experiencing it from behind a lens. When you got back home it was a big event to sit down and look at your photographs with family and friends.
Everyone seems to have some way to share their photos before they even return home. Many people have their own blog where they post the details and images of their trip. Myself being one of those people, as you are reading on my blog right now. Other people upload their images to services like flicker or email the photos back to their loved ones. Either way their photos have usually been viewed by the time they get home. A lot of the reason to sit down with with your friends and talk about your trip has been eliminated. I sometimes miss the old way we used to share our travels.
A Paper Map, What’s That?
I wonder if the current generation of youth can read a map. We seem to use a GPS to navigate our way through life now. You can use features of GPS on your cellphone, laptop and in most cars now, including rental vehicles. Heaven forbid if the GPS gives the wrong directions, you’ll be completely lost. It can be frustrating to focus on a tiny screen and having to zoom in and out to get an overall view of an area. There’s something to be said about sitting down with an old fashion map and planning out your day. Some of my favorite travel souvenirs are maps I have kept with doodles and scribbled remarks about the places I have visited.
So many travelers have Ipod buds almost permanently affixed to their ears. I know it can get boring at times on long bus and plane rides, but think of all the aspects of traveling you’re missing by tuning out the sounds around you. It takes away the desire to interact with people or hear any interesting conversations or foreign languages. You just go into your own world and the music, and have less experience with what is going on.
Are Books Going To Disappear?
Now we have Ebook readers such as Kindle. This is an amazing piece of technology and has taken the burden of carrying heavy books, but again it has taken a source of discovery and interaction away from travel. You no longer have to go search out that little back alley bookstore or try to communicate with another traveler about a possible book exchange.
Is It All Really Necessary?
With all the research we can do on the internet and on the fly from our phones we can almost eliminate the need to have any local interaction at our destination. Anything we need to know is at our fingertips.
Not only are all these electronic devices a pain in the butt to carry around while traveling, you have to worry about electronic devices being dual voltage and having the correct plug in adapters. There is also the constant burden of recharging batteries and the added stress of theft.
If you’re old enough, can you think back to a time when you landed at a destination before cellphones and laptops. Do you remember that incredible feeling of having all the ties to stress at home just disappear. There was nothing to do other than enjoy the experience that awaited before you.
So next time you go traveling, think about it before you pack that hair dryer, curling iron, GPS device, cell phone, laptop, Ipod, book reader, game boy, the stack of chargers, batteries and cords, is it all really necessary?