Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling Ruins Memories Now and Later

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Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling Ruins Memories Now & Later

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While in Muxia, Spain, on the way to Fisterra, we decide to see Corcubion, Spain. We were in the town of Muxia. Muxia is a beautiful town by the sea, which didn’t have very many homes, and where most homeowners rent out rooms to people walking the Camino to Fisterra. Our next goal is to see Corcubion on our way to Fisterra. My friend snaps photos, and I wonder, is it possible, just maybe, she’s taking too many photos when traveling? Is it possible?

Then my friend announces, I have taken over 2000 photos, on day 7 of the 18-day trip. And she adds, ‘My phone is getting full.’

I hear her, but, wonder, who’s going to look at all those photos? And more importantly, why is she doing this? All I am going to remember about this trip is her camera in my face.

Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling

While the car is moving, and the rain pours down, the windshield wipers make a swish noise, she takes pictures of road signs, everything is photographed.

Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling

Sign for Another Castle and Church

There on the side of the road is a sign pointing the way to Corcubion, Spain. And to our surprise, the sign points the way to another castle and church. We had to go, right because it’s on the way to our final destination. One more stop shouldn’t matter. We are off to see another castle and church. Off to take more photographs and more photos of more sites.

Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling

Ready your Camera – Ready Aim Shoot

As we drive down the road, everyone raises their camera. Cameras out. I look to the right and to the left and all I see is cell phones raised. I couldn’t see out the windows for all the cameras. The car’s riders are ready and aiming for more photographs.

Watching as they take photos of everything, I think, I took so many photos that I don’t recall my trip. It was only day seven and I had little or no memory of my travel. As I write this post, I ask myself what I remember? I remember cameras in my face and watching them document everything. Why? I even asked why they were doing this. The answer – “I have always done this.”

I wonder if taking too many photos affects my ability to recall my memories. Then I look-up the idea of photos affects on memories. After an easy bit of research, the news is terribly bad. I find an article on the BBC photos and memories, CNN about How taking too many photos affects memories. Then an article in the Guardian on Photos, Travel, and Memories.  Then NPR Washed out memories. I read Elle’s article of photos and memories, The Cut article, Ruins of Memories Now and Later, and The Telegraph, Ruined Memories. Seriously this is a problem – if taking too many photos is causing loss of our memories now, think what it’s going to be like later! Are we making a future population with no memories because of vanity and our need to get the perfect shot, selfie, and craze to photograph everything?

Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling Is Possible

Are we destroying our great memories by taking too many photos? Travel memories are lost when anyone over-does the travel photos. Put the camera down. Observe. Feel the place. Just be.

As we drove, I looked out my window, the only one without a cell phone in it. I see the people walking in the rain. Corcubion is a very good place to explore. Hopefully, we will stop.

Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling

Be Present

Then it dawns on me. How about experiencing the moment? ‘Being present’. How about seeing the site? Corcubion is a real castle, graveyard and authentic church that doesn’t charge an entrance fee, and has been here for centuries, why not stop? Why not, Savor the moment.

Corcubion, Spain

Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling

Road Side Attraction

We see Corcubion, Spain through the window of a moving car on a rainy day with cell phones raised to capture the town, that we didn’t actually see or experience. There it is. We didn’t stop. I looked to my left and saw a crypt with people walking towards the ancient site. A crypt, hidden in the woods directly across the street from the church in Corcubion is probably worth exploring. We drove on to the next town.

To my right, everyone’s camera is still raised. That’s it. If I blinked, as I did. It is over. We got photos but we didn’t see the town. My Corcubion memory is everyone’s cell phone taking photos of the tiny town from a moving minivan. This is the daily experience on our 18-day trip.

Taking Too Many Photos When Traveling

Oh well, they have their cell phone photos. Next stop Fisterra.

Travel advice: Try to savor the moment. Put the camera and cell phone down. You don’t need to take photos of every meal because if you do – you just might be making yourself prone to Alzheimer’s, loss of memory, and premature aging. Eventually, you won’t be able to share memories. To many photos might be ruining your vacation, others’ travel experience, and the ability to share your precious travel memories.

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

2 Comments

  1. Jim Allen

    June 18, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    An informative and so true article. Most travel photos are forever relegated to storage devices and the cloud, never to be seen by anyone. These photo junkies are always looking for the next greatest selfie or photo to show their friends, but I’ll bet they have little to no memory of their travel experience during their ‘photo rage.’ I know this because I used to be one of these junkies, but kicked the habit later in my travels. Your eyes should be your camera for most of your trip—you’ll see more and remember those moments many years later. Great article, Kate!

    Jim

    • Kate

      June 18, 2018 at 9:53 pm

      Boy, you summed up my feelings exactly, I have to take photos for doing the blog. But, trust me, I took the fewest photos by far, except for the two people without cameras.

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