The traveler so busy with documentation that he misses out on some phantom called the “experience itself”
Travel vlogging requires immense commitment, skill and dedication. Especially when it comes to capturing unique and beautiful moments. But what about when we’re so busy trying to capture these moments, that the moment disappears altogether?
It’s a common fear not only in the travel vlogging community, but the general public in general. Are we spending too much time in our phones and computers creating this fantasy experience when we’re missing the moments happening before our eyes?
“On the one hand, we have been encouraged to believe that we are no longer the sum of our products (as we were when we were still an industrial economy) but the sum of our experiences. On the other, we lack the ritual structures that once served to organize, integrate and preserve the stream of these experiences, so they inevitably feel both scattershot and evanescent. We worry that photographs or journal entries keep us at a remove from life, but we also worry that without an inventory of these documents — a collection of snow globes for the mantel — we’ll disintegrate. Furthermore, that inventory has to fulfill two slightly different functions: It must define us as at once part of a tribe (“people who go to Paris”) and independent of it (“people who go to Paris and don’t photograph the Eiffel Tower”) (Lewis-Kraussept, 2016)
So why do we digitally collect these snow globes of places we’ve been? How often do we really look through those old photo albums of our travels? We can relate the desperate need to capture moments, to the notion of ‘I Was Here’ travel, the need to capture and show that you are a part of a bigger picture (Thompson, 2015, pp. 305). As the following travel vlog from Lost LeBlanc highlights, sometimes infatuating on the ‘I Was Here’ notion of travel, you miss the moment entirely.
Watch from 5:25 – 6:33
It’s also easy to see how vlogging, particularly daily vlogging can put enormous stress on personal relationships. There have been several ‘famous’ examples of couples breaking up because of the stresses of daily vlogging. The most classic example is BFvGF. However it really raises the question of what it means to live and experience a moment.
Watch from 6:07 – 6:50
Vlogging and capturing travel moments has it’s perks. You create beautiful memories and works of art that you can upload and keep forever. But it also has its darker side, always shoving a camera in someone’s face, getting anxiety about your camera, charging your batteries, making sure you have access to internet to upload, and ultimately, missing a moment all together.
We will always want to capture moments, but perhaps that’s all we should be capturing… moments. Snippets of an experience, to entice curiosity and inspire exploration. And in my opinion, Ben Browns new Visual Vibes clip below perfectly balances these tensions.
Lewis-Kraussept, G 2016, ‘What We See When We Look at Travel Photography’, The New York Times, 22 September, viewed 20 May 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/magazine/what-we-see-when-we-look-at-travel-photography.html
Thomspson, C 2015, ‘The Routledge Companion to Travel Writing’, Routledge, 22 December, viewed 23 May 2017