I’m going on an overseas holiday. I lose count of how many times I have explained my itinerary, which day I’m leaving and when I’ll be back.
“Sounds great, make sure you take lots of photos!”, they all say.
Why should I? Are they really going to want to look at them when I get back?
Holiday snaps pose a timeless dilemma, one that has haunted travellers, be they backpackers, gap-yearers or newly retired empty nesters, for generations. It’s actually quite a challenge to enjoy the moment if you are continually yelling, “take one of me in front of the statue!” You know you’re in trouble when you find yourself assessing the scenery not in terms of how magnificent it is, or how it makes you feel, but rather which angle or camera setting will give the best shot when it’s printed in 6 x 4 matte.
There’s nothing like walking for hours to the top of a mountain, only to take a few photos and walk back down again. Something to show the folks back home. To prove that you really were there. You can already hear the sweet oohs and aahs of your workmates marvelling at your glossy pictures in the lunch room (that’s if they ever make it off the memory card and into cold hard prints).
Perhaps we underestimate the ability of our mind and emotions to help us remember the amazing sites and fabulous experiences we encountered on our journey. Or maybe the thought of having show and tell with our friends is stronger than the desire to soak in the moment and really appreciate the experiences we travel so far to enjoy.
After all that, do my friends really care what my hotel looked like, or how big that cave was? Should we bother with the slightly awkward slide show where everyone politely feigns interest all the way to the end, when all they want is to hear some crazy story and be done with it?
Surely the satisfaction lies with the actual accomplishment of having that adventure, expanding your knowledge of the big wide world, and living to tell the tale, whether there are photos to prove it or not. I think my friends would be happy with that.
And perhaps one photo of me on top of a mountain.