I travel a lot. One thing I have noticed is that for the last twenty years or so, go to any great city in Europe and inevitably you will see tourists walking down the main streets filming.
Excitedly, they want to capture what they are seeing and where they are as to show friends & family back home.
This is faulty logic on several levels:
Technology is constantly changing. One year i saw people walking down the Champ-Elysees using the camcorders that you just insert an actual VCR tape into. The next year cameras were far smaller. People are inherently lazy, no one is going to do transfers of all the footage shot over the years and even if you had the gumption to do so, it will look terrible.
When showing footage to friends back home, although somewhat of a sitcom cliche, it quickly becomes boring. A shakey cam view of streets, unless something amazing is caught on film, quickly becomes dull. And although most friends most likely will not say so, the mind starts to wander as they watch the footage.
Photos are a little better. A photo potentially offers a more obvious immediacy of what is “important” that the viewer should be noticing.
However photos offer their own drawbacks. People in search of the perfect instagram photos are so busy concentrating on that, that they are not in the moment. Go to any museum and watch as people run up to an immortal work snap a photo with it behind them, then run off. Yes, one may have “seen” a Van Gough et al but aside from location and year of trip little else is remembered despite getting massive numbers of likes & retweets on their sites.
I am by no means anti technology. I enjoy the instant gratification of emails, skype & texting when on the road. I also do take some photos. These things though are given very little of my times. I have found that I absorb more and it becomes more memorable doing quick sketches and some notes of what i am doing and seeing.
To whomever I show these records of my journey to, they are seeing what was important to me and it is more engaging. (Even the best photo one takes or Paris, Rome etc etc thousands of other people have gotten the same exact shot!)
Not everyone can draw but anyone can jot down the interesting or odd little things they come across. Anyone who would claim to not come across anything to write is probably missing it because they are texting or posting to social media.
For any journey the thing is not to be ourselves as we are at home, making everything around us adapt. Rather, it is to explore and be open to a life lived differently as to draw new things into ourselves fostering evolution (intellectually, spiritually etc)
Charcoal Text & Image improvisation 9×12