I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots – Albert Einstein
Happy Snappy in Australia
One of my aims on this blog is to give a fair and honest depiction of travel.
I believe that travel experiences, on the whole, are unfairly represented on social media. This struck home when I visited the 12 apostles (there’s like 5 ½ now) on a road trip down Australia’s Great Ocean Road.
I headed down the pristine wooden paved pathway to grab a shot of the apostles from a convenient platform made specifically for touristic photographs.
I meandered through a swarm of a 100 people to find my prize position for a beautiful landscape photo, which cleverly avoided the snappy happy people stood around me.
Snap. Check. Zoom. Snap. Check. Adjust ISO. Snap. Check. DONE.
Happy as Larry, I walked back to the car, editing my image for Instagram with a filter and a caption that probably went along the lines of “Me with Nature. Life is beautiful.”
And then, that evening when I was flicking through my photos it hit me.
What I was experiencing was superficial.
I was exploring the world through the lens of my camera, neglecting real life for a technological imitation, and I wasn’t actually experiencing anything.
A Technology Focused Society
There’s no doubt that technology is connecting the world and bringing us closer together. Despite distance, we can video call with loved ones, transfer money, and even run our businesses from the 5 inch screen of our mobile phone.
Technology dominates our society, and with each new product and service, we’re told by marketers that it will increase our efficiency and makes our lives simpler.
We believe them, adopt the new technology as if its a new born baby without thinking about its implications.
But, here’s a few thought provoking questions to ponder:
What affect technology is having on our lives and relationships?
Is technology numbing our experience and distracting us from actuality?
Things Have Changed
When I was growing up (worryingly that’s not so long ago) I’d cycle 20km’s to visit my grandma. I’d bake a cake and go around to my friend’s house to wish them happy birthday. I’d write hand written letters and send them by post to the people I loved.
But things have changed, and it’s hard to resist the subtle tug of the technological era.
We now live in a society, which:
- Focuses on capturing the experience and saving it for later, for other people to consume, rather than living it ourselves in the present moment.
- Has traded love letters and happy birthdays for emotions and virtual birthday cakes.
- Sacrifices real personal growth, in favour of building a virtual representation of our personalities
- Has taught us to seek validation in likes and shares.
- Tells us that having 500 mediocre connections is better than 10 really close friends.
- Teaches us to play the comparison game and compete with our friends over whose experience is the best.
It’s clear that technology is directly impacting the authenticity of our life experiences.
Technology is a great tool but we must become conscious about its limitations and work towards living a more fulfilling life.
At the end of it all, when you look back and reflect on your life, it’s not about what other people thought about your experiences, that’s external noise, and you will never be fulfilled by someone else’s perception of your experiences.
Instead, all that matters is how you feel in yourself and this is measured by the depth of your experiences on this planet with people who matter to you.
The gentle humming of the birds. The swaying tree in the wind. The sound of the rain as it pitter patters on the floor. The unique smile of a stranger as they pass you in the street.
This is actuality.
This is where life is lived.
So next time you travel, leave your technology behind, embark on an adventure and experience how beautiful the world is through your own two eyes.
Thanks for reading and all the best,
Daniel Beaumont, Friday 15th January
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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