EC 831 / Reflections

Treasure the Original Pleasure

Alec’s thoughts on Connected Learning left me wondering:

How often do I forget the original pleasures of life because I’m so consumed with capturing the moment on my smartphone?  It’s ironic that while we are trying so desperately to capture the moment, we could be actually missing the moment.  We may have a picture, but did we really live that moment?  Did we really taste that curry?  Did we really see the blues in that water?  Did we really hear those harmonies?

49 years ago.

49 years ago.

It’s fascinating to consider how smartphones have revolutionized the way we share our life experiences with the world.  I think of my Mom and Dad moving to India and marrying in the mid-1960′s.  A month later, family at home likely received photos and a recount of the special day.  Then Mom gives birth to my three oldest siblings in India, an ocean and a continent away from any family.  Today, Dad still travels to India.  He’s 72.  He updates on Facebook, Facetimes when he has the chance and a good connection, and this time before he left, I introduced him to Instagram.  I remember what a difference it made for Mom to be connected on Facebook when they lived in India for another five-year span a few years ago.

I think of my own travels.  The first time I traveled to India, as a 19-year-old, I captured the moments on my film camera, and shared my story in a handmade scrapbook, which I labored over for what seemed like hundreds of hours.  It is a treasure, partly because it represents my creativity before the day of the online photobook, and then of course because of the memories from my first encounter with India.

I can imagine Mom's post,  "First time in a rickshaw!"  #kolkata #stinkinghot #whereami?!

I can imagine Mom’s post, “First time in a rickshaw!” #kolkata #stinkinghot #whatisthatsmell #whereami?!

During my recent trip to Europe, my sister or I would write and post some kind of daily update.  At first I was hesitant to create such a steady stream of our experiences online.  I didn’t want to be obsessing with uploads and posts, but so many people were enthusiastic about living vicariously through us, so we continued.  It was fun to be able to share that journey.  It’s great to now have my Instagram feed and Facebook page serve as a journal of the trip.  I am glad that there lulls where we couldn’t access WiFi.  It allowed for space to simply “be” without thinking about sharing and posting.

There is certainly a balance to be found here.  I appreciated Alec’s guideline, “If it disconnects you and moves you away from community and others, don’t use it“.  It was great to have the reminder to live with my eyes wide open, rather than filter my experiences through a 4″ screen.

What do you think?  When you travel, do you prefer disconnecting and just soaking in the moment, or do you enjoy sharing your experiences online?

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8 thoughts on “Treasure the Original Pleasure

  1. I love this post, especially the picture of your mom in the rickshaw with the modernized hashtags- I had a good chuckle!
    I am sort of in the middle when it comes to sharing my adventures. **Disclaimer: I don’t get a chance to travel a lot, so I don’t have particularly exciting things to share. When I do travel, I tend to share the occassional status update or picture, but nothing too extreme. However, I do take a lot of pictures, and often I find myself “missing out” on the magic of the moment because I am so worried about capturing that same magic.
    I think that people that are so inclined should go right ahead and share, share, share. That way it is there for those who are interested, and those who aren’t can choose not to read, comment, or view the pictures. Blogs, Facebook, and Instagram are modern versions of the photo album that we all treasure. Neither is better or worse- just different.

  2. Thanks, Heidi! I hadn’t seen that picture of my Mom in the rickshaw for such a long time, and it really made me smile, too! I agree with about the camera, too. I tend to get a little snap happy because I really want to get that great shot when I’m traveling! Good intentions, but definitely good to remember to look through our eyes first, and then the viewfinder!

  3. When I travel it is almost always by myself. I love travelling by myself but it makes my mom very nervous. I often post daily pictures mostly so she knows that I am still alive! One thing I miss about traditional film pictures is the excitement you get when you picked up your photos from the developer.

    • I hear you, Tina! I know I feel that way about my Dad when he is away in India. When I see an update or photo, I breathe a little sigh of relief! However, it’s easy for me to forget that when I’m the one traveling! I agree with you about traditional film. That wait time had its merit for sure!! I guess it is like a picture of our culture today- we don’t want to wait for much. Immediacy and speed is more highly valued. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Dear Harmony,
    I love your post. Your parents are such an inspiration! A few years ago, my husband and I took our two kids out of school to travel the globe for a full year. We did visit India but only for a couple of weeks and certainly to no extent that your parents did back in 1960s and a few years ago. Travelling obviously is a love of mine. Before our “big” trip, I read many travel blogs and it sure help me planned our own trip. I read not too long ago a book “The rough guide to First-time around the world” written by Doug Lansky and he says that often we take pictures for others while we travel and often it’s important to bring back experiences rather than pictures. I guess after 12000 pictures of this trip around the world, I can say that No one really cares about them, except for us. Now on the other hand, we wrote a travel blog while we traveled and it was really neat that friends, family and people around the world would comment on our blog. So to your question, I guess I like to soak it all in and reflect on my own experience online without worrying if people are interested or not. Thanks for sharing this very personal post.

    • Hi, Lyane!! Thanks for stopping by! I checked out your blog briefly when you first made mention of your global adventure…WOW! I love it. So wonderful for you to take in so many experiences with your family. If I have my own family in the future, I would love to be able to do the same. Perhaps at some point I will begin taking my nieces and nephews along with me (PS: You teach my nephew, Elijah!).
      To me, there is no place like India! I love the onslaught of the senses- the colors, the sounds, the smells (okay, not the smells), and most definitely the tastes!! And I have met so many wonderful people there, which is the real highlight. My parents have spent most of their time in the Northeast part of India. It is more tribal, and so beautiful.
      I love reading travel blogs, too. It is amazing how online networking has changed travel. Where did you stay for most of your adventure? For my recent trip to Europe, my sister and I used Airbnb.ca (bed and breakfasts) for nearly all of our accommodations. It was awesome and I would definitely take that route again.
      I’m sure so many people loved reading your blog. I know I would have enjoyed following your adventures! I blogged through my years of living in China and Hong Kong, and it was a great connecting place.

  5. Hi Harmony – great post!!! A good reminder about being in the moment! When I travel I take a lot of pics but they are for me. I love making photo books! I used to come home from a trip and post many of them on Facebook with lots of details. But now I have come to realize, like Lyane, that no one really cares about them except for you and the people you were with.

    I also have to watch myself now that I have a baby – cause I want to take a million pics of her. I also remind myself that enjoying her in that photo moment is the point – not the photograph :).

    Ps I think I saw you post something for Lisa Frei on Facebook – she was my principal two years ago at Albert and I just love her!!! She’s amazing!!!

    • Thanks, Shauna! Yes, I am a pretty big fan of the photo book myself! I love the growing collection in my living room. I’m with you on the obsessive tendency to capture every expression with kids. They are just too cute! I was out taking photos of my niece the other day, oh wait, I was out playing with her at the park! Ha. Clearly my first priority was not the park but the photos!

      PS: Yes, Lisa is the best. She was my VP at Jack Mack. I’m hoping my path crosses hers once again in the future- she’s a real gem.

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