Now that my exams are done and dusted, with a little more than one week before the start of the spring semester, I am currently browsing through my photos featuring my trip with my fellow friends to Barcelona, Spain.
Scrolling through the photos of us in La Sagrada Familia, in Park Guell, the mandatory food shots of the famous seafood paella and the La Boqueria Food Market at La Rambla, I was searching for a photo worthy of making an appearance on my Instagram.
My friends and I spent most of our time taking cool-looking individual shots, fun group shots (with a selfie stick of course) and couple shots. It’s not everyday we get to travel and taking photos lets us permanently preserve these joyful memories. My favourite memory is us occupying one part of the Park Guell Greek Theatre as we take turns posing in front of a camera. It was especially fun when we gather together to take a ‘groupie’ and all of us struggled to squeeze a good part of ourselves into the tiny iPhone screen.
However, while I was reminiscing about our Barcelona trip, I had also realised something quite terrible.
“I had been to these places, but did I fully immerse myself in understanding the history and culture of them?”
As we were busy taking pictures within Sagrada Familia, did I take my time to admire the beautiful stained glass and the beautiful architecture designed by Gaudi? Or the breathtaking and vibrant mosaic tiles of Park Guell?
Can’t say I had. We were really more focused on taking photos.
With the increasing role of social media in our lives, sometimes we find ourselves occupied in updating and diversifying our social media feed. We are eager to share what’s happening to our family and friends and also to our future self. While this itself is not a bad thing, sometimes this urge overwrites the more meaningful purposes of what we are doing.
For me, I view travelling as a truly immersive way of learning a place’s history, culture and its people. But somehow amidst of this Barcelona trip, I lost track of this and got more preoccupied in taking nice pictures of everything without giving much thought of the scenery that my camera lenses was pointing to.
This Spain trip is a wake-up call for me. A reminder to spend more time off social media and more time to experience and explore the surroundings the next time I go travelling.