Why you need to ditch the screen when travelling
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I love a good travel movie and it's no coincidence that most of my favourites follow the same pattern: an intrepid adventurer leaves their ordinary life behind to find a new life for themselves in the wilderness. Sometimes their story ends in tragedy, but mostly the protagonist triumphs over adversity to find solace in places far-removed from their ordinary lives. After all, that's what travel (and I'm not just talking the international kind) is meant to be all about, isn't it? It's an opportunity to take risks, to step outside of your own reality and enter another. It allows us to put a critical distance between ourselves and all our petty grievances, as our encounters with The World inject a healthy dose of perspective into our lives. Reese Witherspoon does exactly that in Wild, as she finally finds closure for her mother's death on the Pacific Crest Trail, whilst Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson exorcise the pent-up anxiety of failing relationships and bad decisions during their brief encounter in Tokyo in Lost in Translation. Such powerful moments of reflection and self-affirmation can only be found on the road, in isolation. So how does this wash with the social media generation?
by Moyan_Brenn TravelSharing has become a seemingly obligatory part of travelling abroad as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram give roaming individuals their five seconds of fame before we scroll onto the next post on our newsfeeds. Indeed, anyone who has some experience of foreign travel will have encountered at one time or another the ‘screen-sick’ tourist – someone who is so engrossed by their phone or tablet that they fail to appreciate what is going on around them, no matter how breathtakingly beautiful their surroundings. We are governed, it seems, by one impulse: the constant need for a dubious kind of self-validation achieved through competitive experience-sharing. Which raises a whole load of ethical questions, especially if your exploits abroad have seen you traipsing through the Third World, posing with your arms around the shoulders of numerous 'ethnic' children.
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