The challenge: Forget your camera on your next trip
You are looking through the photos from a trip and you see for the first time something you hadn’t noticed when you were there. Sounds familiar? When you see something beautiful, your first reaction is to take a picture of it. If you spend the whole time taking pictures, however, it turns out that you have seen the place through the lens, not with your eyes.
Why is taking too many photos on a trip bad:
A recent study of the Fairfield University, Connecticut, suggests that taking too many photographs can, in fact, impair your ability to remember details of the trip later. A group of people were taken to a museum and asked to observe some of the works of art, and take photos of others. When asked on the next day, the participants were able to better remember details of the pieces they had observed. The study’s author, psychology professor Linda Henkel, calls it a “photo-taking impairment effect”.
“When people rely on technology to remember for them – counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves – it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences”, professor Henkel explains.
How to not do it:
This time forget that you have a camera and just enjoy your screen-less trip. Set aside several hours only for contemplating, listening, breathing… Create memories no one else will know about. They will be yours alone. If you insist on photos, ask someone in your group to take them instead.
What to do instead:
#1 Choose beautiful postcards and send them home. Send one to yourself too, describing to yourself how you are feeling. These details often pale with time.
#2 Sketch views that have impressed you in a notebook (like travel writer John Meadows does).
#3 If you are in Italy, it is the best place to learn how to practice the concept of “dolce far niente“. Literally, it means “sweet doing nothing”, but in fact, it means so much more than its literal translation, that you can practically call it an untranslatable phrase.
#4 Indulge in a mindfulness or meditation practice.
#5 Take this challenge to the next level by turning off all electronic devices for the whole trip. It’s good for your mental health, here’s why.
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