Do you remember the days when you had to rely on maps to travel, to find your way around a busy city?
Do you remember the days when you still had printed flight itineraries and plane tickets?
Do you remember how it felt roaming the busy streets without your eyes glued to your phone screens, and instead observing and taking in the raw expressions of the people around you?
I do miss those days, to be frank.
With the convenience that technology has afforded us, I can't help but reminisce the old days where we had all of these; everything was so much more analogue and raw, where we had physical maps, film cameras, and all these things that we now call 'vintage'.
So then I wonder, has the magic of travelling, of wanderlust, or exploring the world and all that it has to offer, been diluted by our reliance on technology?
I think there are a couple of things to remember here.
1. Don't miss out on the chance to find golden gems
I'm talking about finding things unexplored, little side alleys that we'd never have chanced upon, whether it's that back lane lit with fairy lights that you would have missed on a drive past guided by Google Maps, or an old food stall by the street on the path less taken.
Following the path without the use of technology allows us to focus so much more on the present, that perhaps one could argue that we won't ever need technology, when travel is all about soaking in all there is to offer. Right?
I'm also bought into the belief that we experience the most when we are the most physically present. It's when you are engaged with the people at the dinner table, the sights and sounds around you, that you can truly say you've arrived at a place. And maybe it's these things like this that make me appreciate not having technology at the tip of my fingers 24/7 when I'm exploring or finding my way around a foreign destination. Maybe, just maybe.
But what about getting around then?
2. Technology helps us get around
Gone are the days of physical maps. Now everything has hopped aboard Google maps and the Internet in order to find places - even activities and things to do around us. It helps us discover the places around us, and guides our way to that old restaurant on the corner of the street. Direction filters all sorted to point us in the right direction, estimated times of arrival, and fastest routes all mapped out with ease.
For practicality, convenience, and speed, technology gives you everything you need to sort out your way to that dinner date or arts museum in a completely foreign city and street - especially if you're speaking a completely different language to the locals.
And it's when we have all of these things in the palms of our hands that we can truly explore the city, find reviews, read about the best places to go, that we truly start appreciating having all this information handy wherever we go, and that's the benefit that technology grants us.
3. Capture the moments that matter, as they happen
I'm a huge fan of film photography. Lomo cameras. Polaroids. Trust me, I really am. I love that everything can be captured on such raw footage and developed on film in such precise art - even with the chance of it going wrong and occasionally ending up with a blank reel.
But think about it.
What if you had to give a friend directions to the shop they were supposed to meet you at? Instinctively, what do you do? You take your phone out to take a photo of the street to show her where you are, or you simply link her the directions by 'sending location'.
Not to mention, not having to take around two items (a phone and a camera), and simply just using our iPhone for #iPhoneonly pictures that we can snap on the go and share with our friends with the tap of a few buttons. It's that simple.
Could you do without it?
Just think about all the things technology does for us in travel, and amazingly, you'll find technology so closely interweaved in so many facets that you'll wonder how we ever managed to travel without it before.
Technology is a luxury; a way of making our lives easier. But remember to always be present, be with the people who are in front of you, and let yourself experience the world around you with no holds barred. Let technology facilitate your experience, rather than hold you back.
Don't forget to love and experience the world around you, but know that it's okay to take the technological option too.