08 July 2016

Technology and contemplation

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.

Disruptive technologies

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?

Simplify travel

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.

10 June 2016

Do it for yourself

It is this time of the year, when April begins and all of a sudden, we are in June. As I'm off for some weeks of hectic work, I thought I might leave a word here before I go to E3. After my note on toxic cosmetics, I decided to think a bit more about what place little material luxuries of life have in my version of simplicity.

10 April 2016

Travel & Gratitude

The last train in Tokyo, December 2006.

A thousand years ago, Europeans didn't know the American continent existed. A few hundred years ago, it took years for a traveler to go across the world. By the end of the 19th century, traveling around the world in 80 days was a fiction-worthy exploit. And now? Now, we can travel through continents in less than 24 hours. Isn't that awesome? What if we could see the world with the marveled eyes of a child? Or a time traveler?

24 March 2016

Toxic Cosmetics

source: instagram

Last month, the French independant pro-consumer media Que Choisir has published an independent study about the cosmetics on sale on the market. They found toxic, allergenic or downright dangerous ingredients in 185 different products. After all this turning 30 reflection on how I feel about ageing, I thought it was as good a news as another to talk about appearance, cosmetics and the role of looks in society (and our happiness).

10 March 2016

Getting Older

source: Maruti Bitamin

As the big 30 approached for me these past few weeks, there have been much discussions with friends, family and colleagues about this symbolic turn of age. Naturally, this lead to the invariable fear of old age we all bear in our hearts. Now that I am turning 30 today, here are a few thoughts about how it feels to get older.

05 February 2016

Know your weaknesses

Source: tumblr

As I started simplifying my life and engage in various experiments, I have tried to learn from my mistakes and noticed some patterns about myself. Over time, I also noticed how knowing about these weaknesses helped getting better by avoiding them.

31 January 2016

Do Your Best

source: tumblr

Like many things in life, the simplicity journey isn't a straight line, but rather a spiral upwards. There is progress, relapse, some answers and more questions. Sometimes we wonder if we are fit for this quest, if it is even possible. In these situations, the most important is to remember to do your best, whatever your best is today.