For most people, cameras are a mandatory item to take on holidays. These provide the perfect way to create long-lasting memories of your escape – or so we think! There are actually a lot of benefits to keeping your camera in your bag, at least for a couple of days.
Do You Take Lots Of Photos While Travelling?
For me, taking photos is one of the best parts about travelling. I love capturing new and exotic places, the friendly faces of local people and silly poses in front of famous landmarks. My standard reoccurring bad dream before going away on a trip is always that I forget to pack my camera.
When I travelled through India it was photography heaven. We were always somewhere new and fresh; the colours and festivities were dazzling, chaotic and so much fun to photograph.“According to my memory card, after just three weeks I had taken about 1000 photographs”There seemed to be something interesting around every corner and I found it imperative to photograph everything. According to my memory card, after just three weeks I had taken about 1000 photographs.
However, it was different when I ventured to Nepal to start a two-week trek. Nepal was stunning, magical and out-of-this-world beautiful, but I found it was very hard to capture on film. I also had the terrible misfortune (or so I thought) of having my camera battery die and as there had been a terrible blizzard in the area, all the teahouses on our trek were without power. As a result, I had no working camera and no way to take any photographs for a couple of days. “Oh no!” I sobbed to myself. “What if we pass a herd of goats for the tenth time and I can’t take a picture? How will I continue to take photos of the same snow-capped mountain? Woe is me.”
“Oh no! What if we pass a herd of goats for the tenth time and I can’t take a picture? Woe is me.”
But as it turns out, not having a camera for a few days was one of the best things that could have happened to me.
A New Lens
Unlike in India, where we were somewhere completely new and different each day, Nepal had a consistent, natural aesthetic that needed to be soaked up by the soul – not through a camera lens. I found it liberating to simply enjoy my surrounds – the echoing avalanches off in the distance; the Himalayan eagles soaring high above us; the novelty of walking through fresh snow – and all without having to wrangle with my backpack and search for my camera every time I saw something interesting.
I found it extremely humbling to just be there and not worry about whether I should be taking photographs. I could just be.
Capturing Real Memories
We’re often so focused on capturing our holidays that we’re not really present and in the moment. The trips when you leave your camera at home are often the ones you remember the best.
In fact, researchers have found that people who take pictures have trouble remembering what actually happened and taking too many photos may prevent us from forming detailed memories. In this study, participants were led on a guided tour through an art museum and directed to either observe or photograph the objects they saw. The researchers discovered that the people who just observed were able to remember things more clearly and those who took photographs found it difficult to recall the details of the objects. “I could just be.”
We rely on cameras to create memories for us and as a result we forget to make the most of the moment ourselves. We whip our cameras out of our bags almost mindlessly, according to Dr Linda Henkel, who conducted the study. This can have a negative impact on how well we can remember our experiences and we become too dependent on technology and miss out on creating better memories for ourselves.
Live in the Moment
Some travellers choose to abandon their cameras altogether while on holidays. I don’t know if I could take the plunge and leave my camera at home – it’s nice to have at least a few holiday snaps. But there’s certainly a lot to be said about leaving it in your bag for a day or two and simply immersing yourself in whatever location you’re lucky enough to find yourself in. Strike up a conversation with the locals, try a brand new food or simply wander around and soak up the beauty of wherever you are. Your memory will probably thank you for it.