Ever Present

I haven’t written anything for a while now, I suppose you could consider it writer’s block. If anything it is more a result of lack of content, the result of me assuming that my everyday life and thoughts aren’t always worth writing about.

I turned 23 recently and decided to take a trip to Los Angeles to celebrate. I booked tickets to see my Lakers play, a ticket to see Lorde and was lucky enough to be gifted a ticket to Universal Studios so that I could experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For anyone who knows me, this is basically my ideal holiday and it was made even better by the fact that I got to stay at my friend Amy’s house and catch up with her and her family. I figured that the trip would also be a great opportunity to source content for my blog and various social media profiles.

We live in a world where oftentimes we are caught thinking about how something may be perceived online. We wonder whether that angle will look good on Instagram, whether that Snapchat will have the desired effect or whether what we’re thinking is truly worthy of another Facebook status. I posted to my Instagram story whilst I waited at Calgary airport, I thought it would be fun to run a poll and interact with my friends. The poll was decently well responded to and I did enjoy hearing what people thought even though the question was far from serious. I updated my story with another similar poll once arriving in LA which yielded similar results, however this ended up being basically my last social media post during my vacation.

I did take my camera with me to LA, but I didn’t use it once. There are so many great photo opportunities in Hollywood and the surrounding areas but I had seen them all before. As I planned each day I realised I had less and less time to get to these spots and photograph them as they just weren’t high enough on my priority list. As I sat on my phone trying to figure out the best public transport journey to Rodeo Dr I realised that I had no reason to go. My sole purpose for going to Rodeo Dr was to get a photo, a photo that I would share on social media, reap fake internet points on and completely forget about. I didn’t go to Rodeo Dr; nor did I go to Runyon Canyon, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Hollywood Blvd or Disneyland. I had no desire to return to these places, and Instagram likes were certainly not enough of a motivator to deviate from my plans.

I spent my time trying new things, going to new places and eating all of the delicious foods I could afford. I did all of this without experiencing it through the lens of my smartphone or my camera. I feel that this post is in some ways hypocritical, I have spent countless hours posting on social media over the last decade. I have attempted to build a “brand” and gain followers in the hope of income or sponsorship in the future. However, when it comes to travel I have realised that some moments are best experienced to the fullest extent, with the commitment of each one of our senses. I am in no way saying that rewarding experiences and social media are mutually exclusive. My intention with this post is to urge people to find a balance when travelling or even in our day to day lives.

In this modern age, we are expected to be available at any moment. We all have a smartphone, we all have the social media apps and we all know that realistically everybody we know should respond within a few hours. Due to this, there are times when we fail to be present in the moment, times when we miss a facial expression or a passing comment that may have made a memory so much more than it is. It is imperative that we allow ourselves to be enriched by the world around us, by the people we know and meet, by the experiences that we have each day and by the challenges that we face throughout our lives.

As I get closer to leaving for my road trip, I remain torn between my desire to live in the moment and my passion for capturing it. I know that my trip will be filled with many incredible sights that my friends and family would love to see. I also know that it will be filled with people, moments, lessons and decisions that will be best experienced and processed without the prying eyes of my followers.

It feels great to be writing again, now that the Lakers are out of playoff contention I have a little more time on my hands. It’s less than 3 weeks until I’m full time travelling again and I cannot wait!

 

Mitch Dale

 

 

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