My Unplugged Travel Philosophy

It is no secret that I love to take photographs. I love sharing the photos almost as much as I enjoy taking them. But how much is too much?

As a wedding photographer, you can almost never take too many photos, but at family events and personal trips, living through a lens is not ideal. Instead of taking along my heavy DSLR, I will leave it at home and take my compact Fujifilm X100 T instead because it is less disruptive. I will often keep it tucked away to avoid overusing it, but it always comes out when a cousin asks for a family photo. And if there is a moment that I absolutely have to capture deep in my soul, I will take the photo rather than regretting that I didn’t later.

I am very conscious about living in the moment, which I understand sounds contradictory for a photographer and blogger. Being mindful and being respectful to those around me is important, which is why I do my absolute best not to use my phone in public or while spending time with someone else. I keep the volume off in public and keep it concealed while spending time with someone. I rarely ever use my phone to take photos, unless I’m making a photo list of books I would like to buy one day.

Which brings me to my unplugged travel philosophy. Travel photography, particularly all forms of documentary photography, is my element. No matter where I am in the world I am home as long as I have my camera in my hands. Again, if I am with someone while out and about I do my best to give them my undivided attention. If I know I will be blogging where I am going, plan shots and locations ahead of time to make my time spent photographing more efficient and I will warn my travel partner ahead of time that I am also working on photos for a post.

This is difficult to do as a blogger, as great photography and getting “the shot” is paramount to a blog’s success. I have come up with a solution that protects my goals as well as my relationships. That solution starts with me taking as many of the photos on my own to prevent over relying on my friend/fiancĂ© for assistance for Connecticut Charm posts. My fiancĂ© Matthew wants me to succeed and he wants to support me, but he is not my “beau-tog” (boyfriend-photographer). I cannot expect my work to become his work. I try to plan shots ahead of time and be descriptive in what I need so that he will have to put in little effort to help me when I ask. The self-timer is also a handy feature for self-portraits when help is not around. Kind of strange to do in a crowded public space though. Perhaps one day I will hire another professional for some occasional help.

So when it comes to taking the photos, I have gotten wiser, but not at all unplugged. The unplugged comes from my use of internet while travelling, or I should say complete unuse of it. While away I only use my phone for necessary texts and calls and I never bring my lap top with me.

I feel that with our digital world, especially with social media as a pro photographer and blogger, we act as if something does not count unless we post it immediately. That is not the way I want to run my business, and definitely not the way I want to live my life. I love to live in each moment. Sometimes that includes worshiping the moment with my camera, and in moderation that is perfectly ok. What I do not need is to distract myself from the present by posting about it on my phone or running my lap top. I also can be a private person and many things I also wish to keep to myself or just between loved ones. Those moments are special or far too personal to exploit them, although I am very open online in many ways.

As a blogger, this sounds contradictory. Don’t bloggers need to post everyday? Don’t they need to post what they are doing as soon as it happens for it to be relevant? No. definitely not. Posting often and being consistent is very important, but I also have a life to live. In return, all that living creates better quality blog content. And the photos of my travels are just as exciting and relevant when I post them after I return home as they would be is I updated in real time. It also gives me the extra time to properly edit, write, and design higher quality posts. I do not know many bloggers who live and work by this philosophy, but I know that it works best for me, my relationships, and my own happiness.

With my career, it is monumental to draw a line. Perhaps you can relate? The benefits include living in the moment, feeling refreshed, separating work from my personal travel experiences, more time to enjoy my trips, quality time with the people I am with, less luggage to carry, and a lighter heart to match my lighter suitcase.

Running a business and enjoying a personal life requires not exactly “balance,” but thoughtfulness and priorities. So when I travel, I choose the moment over a digital update. I choose to share a happy memory, trip, or idea after the fact over showing it off in the middle of the moment. That is my simple unplugged travel philosophy.

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