|Hakone | Japan 2016.|
While I’m still rummaging around the many photos I took in Japan, there is a topic I’d like to share today, a thought I had during my vacation. Is technology a disruption to contemplation? Two weeks across the globe, especially in a country like Japan, calls for contemplation. As the cherry blossoms started fading away, we discovered incredible landscapes, impressive temples and the beauty of big cities, their tall buildings and neons.
But we had a pocket wifi, this great invention that allowed us to be always connected to the Internet without tasting the awfully expensive roaming data plans of our mobile companies. I mainly used the wifi to publish at least one picture on Instagram every day, to share the journey and its incredible discoveries.
But I also started receiving e-mails. Some were great, like the first ever acceptance e-mail from a publisher for one of my short stories. Others reminded me of the every day life I left behind when I travelled to Japan. The one I was precisely intending to take a break from for two weeks.
And pocket wifi isn’t the only technology that disrupts contemplation. Cameras. For this amazing journey, I brought my big DSLR, the one full of options to adjust before taking a proper picture. After two days, I felt I was living my vacation through my camera more than through my own eyes. Can the obsession of a perfect picture spoil the beauty of the moment?
Technologies are useful. I was happy to have the pocket wifi and share great moments of my travels though Instagram. I was happy to get my acceptance e-mail for the short story and to gather many pictures that I will share with my family (and with you! It will come).
But that’s one of the aspects where simplicity can be a savior, to keep technology from taking too much space and disrupting the magic of the moment.
After two days, I decided to remove the push notifications from e-mails on my phone and consult them only once a day. I’d limit Instagram visits to once to twice a day, while we were waiting for our food, and limit the number of pictures I’d take before I’d put the camera down and enjoy the moment.
These are simple actions, but I felt like I enjoyed the rest of my trip much more. I was attentive to the little details of the streets, city and landscapes. My senses were ready to take in that entire unknown I was surrounded by, I was available to talk with my friends and share our awe.
To me, simplicity isn’t about going back to the Stone Age or diabolizing all technology and comfort of modern society. It’s about balance and moderation. It’s about taking the best of modern life while not letting it invade the joy of the moment. We all have our own perfect balance. Some will leave e-mail and Internet at home when they travel, others will enjoy sharing every moment via social media. The importance is for you to find your own sweet spot and reach that balance to make the most of life.