Playing or Being a Tourist?


We are or have all been tourists right? I’m not exempt before any questions of this article is suppose to not relate to me. Alot of us travel. Whether its vacations, cruises, backpacking, business trips. Everyone deserves a holiday, a break and for me we work too much in this life.

I just wonder, all the millions of pictures we take. With our IPhones, IPads, Nikon cameras, GoPros etc, how many of them do we view more than once? We spend hundreds and thousands of pounds on going to destinations, and the first thing we do, as we almost feel the need to, is take photos. I was sat in a bar in Salvador, having a casual Bohemian beer followed by a Free branded cigarette, looking at all the obvious tourists come from a cruise to take photos of this majestic Brazilian African city. I mean, the stereotypical tourist, is the ones with the caps on, the white trainers, the pouch packs, camera in hand or around the neck, bright coloured clothing generally, cleaned clothes, bottles of water and occasionally a sticker label on their chest for their name and tour company. The obvious tourist these are. I mean, I’m a tourist. I was a tourist right then, observing all of this.

I come to realise and question, do we really experience a new place, taking photos all the time. I mean, excluded photographers, who do it for work or pure enjoyment, we insist on taking photos in the present, in the moment, for our future-selves to look back on the past. Does that feel the same as experience something, right there and then? Just embracing the culture, people watching, listening to different language conversations, feeling the breeze from a summers day, watching the surroundings in its purity? For me, it’s not the same. Don’t get me wrong, if you are going to visit the Christ of Reedemer in Rio, the Taj Mahal in India or Sydney’s Harbour bridge in Australia, take some photos. I mean, we are told by society, these monuments, these heritage sites, these buildings etc, are ‘must see’s’. Some have historical significance, and if there is an interest there from you, then of course, explore that. But, most of the sites we see, would we visit without the invention of photography? Maybe we take these photos to fill our own ego, to play the tourist, to show others of what we are doing, to say ‘ today i went to see…’. Are we really doing it for what we want? Tourism is what this generation, my generation is all about, but are we getting sucked into things, we really don’t want to see? We are taking photos for the sake of it, seeing things ‘not to miss out’ on them, maybe?

This would never be the case for everything, we are humans, we are curious, we have interests and hobbies, we all want to see some things for different reasons. Maybe even just for the stories. I just think sometimes we have to, embrace what is infront of you, be in awe of our new surroundings, rather than take memories of them as we are infront of them. The reason why some of the best days of our lives, are the ones that come unexpected and out of the blue.

We live, unknowingly in the moment, not planning or with any expectations, this is because we are truly living in the moment. The best memories, are always from the construction of the mind. No photo, really does justice of an experience or what you see in front of you.

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