Everywhere I go, it still fascinates me how globally connected we have become. With technology, I can be virtually back in my office, back home, back where I just left – with just one touch of a screen. What I see is our gadgets – mobile phones, tablets, laptops, all the tech toys we choose to travel with – which have made it possible to constantly be in touch and connected wherever, whenever and however.
Technology allows us to capture and share moments and memories with people we care about within seconds. We send messages, post photos and I’ve even seen people activating iChat or FaceTime right in the scene. Today we enable loved ones to be right there with us. It is all about announcing and sharing, ‘look I am here’.
Trafalgar has embraced this trend. As our guests discover unique and exclusive Insider experiences, we encourage them to share these with their fellow travellers and friends. It is powerful and it works, showing off the world through ones own eyes and experiences.
As I observe this new stimulating movement, I think it is important to note that there is however a balance to be had. The concept is amazing, but sometimes the true opportunity or experience can be lost. We see it all around us; people in restaurants tapping away on their smartphones oblivious of those around them, iPads raised at events as videos are captured but missing the experience, unmindfully snapping the ‘selfie’ without consideration to the event or the surroundings. In other words, sometimes trying to be more efficient or to capture the instant, may cause us to actually miss the moment entirely.
I am guilty of this myself. Through my travels, I am fortunate to be able to explore and feel parts of the world that can truly take my breath away with its sheer awe. There are places I have travelled to that have stopped me in my tracks with their beauty, serenity and stillness. Instinctively I reach for my iPhone to take a photograph, and post it on…
In that split second, often without me even recognizing it, suddenly I have broken the silence of the moment within my perfect place in the world. Through my shift of focus from the landscape to my technology, I am bringing the rest of the world in, with all of its busyness and noise. The stillness is broken. And, sadly, the moment is lost.
The photograph that I take, post and share may be picture perfect, but when I look back at it, what is lost from the moment is the connection I felt to that tiny patch of land on which I stood, and all that my eyes and heart were taking in, the ‘here and now’.
We are all guilty of this. It’s natural in today’s hyper-digital age. But what I have learnt is that it is not about my gadgets, it is about me. It’s a choice. Travel is a gift, a rare opportunity to discover and connect with the world – its people, places, philosophies, the magic of culture and nature, awakening and heightening all of our senses, but it’s especially an opportunity to connect with ourselves. I have discovered, and I am frequently reminded of as I travel, is that to connect, to really connect, sometimes we need to disconnect.
These insider moments are precious, and they should truly be captured. Special memories are a joy to share through photographs and soundbytes. Therefore the trick or balance is knowing when the time is right – when it is right to switch off, be still, connecting to the moment and myself…and then switching back on to capture and share the magic.
And so, as we enter the final stretch of 2014, with a New Year ahead and resolutions lingering, it now feels like the perfect moment to redefine for ourselves when and why we switch on, and off, to connect with what matters to us most.
Wishing everyone a joyous, happy and prosperous New Year – filled with both personal and shared moments.