It’s good for my ego, which is worse for my yoga practice, trying to get rid of my ego, but everybody around here thinks I’m way younger then I really am. It has to be the yoga, keeping me young. But the truth is: I’m getting old; an old traveler. Why, because I’m one of those people who thinks everything was better in the early days.
I can still remember Henny lecturing me: when he was travelling, there was no internet, no e-mail and there where no mobile phones. He was still writing letters to his family and friends and giving them an address of a post office in a town he would go to, so people could sent him a letter in return. In his eyes I was a modern traveler, having internet and e-mail. But when I started traveling – in 1999 (Australia) – I still had the odd mail by post. I only wouldn’t make a phone call to let people know where I was heading, I would look for an internet cafe and sent an e-mail. My sister – mainly – sent my post over to the towns I was visiting. It had something ‘romantic’, coming in to a new city, looking for the post office and getting a few letters. Taking them back to the hostel and – laying in a bunk bed in a dorm – reading the letters and cards from back home. They where a nice extra to the emails.
2008 I went again. This time the trip went to New Zealand, Tonga. I was a luxurious traveler, having my laptop with me, having an mobile phone with me as well. We used both. The laptop mainly to blog on our travel blog and to work on the photo’s we took and the stories we wrote for the magazines and papers Mickey and I where working for. But being in hostels, we spent our time mainly with chatting with other travelers. Getting to know them, learning about their background, culture, countries. It made our world richer, our traveling more interesting.
So what changed? Social media, facetime, skype, cheap credits to call home. It’s quiet in hostels. Well, quiet with conversations between backpackers. They do happen, but not as much as I was use to. People still chat, but with their friends and family back home. They are on their phone the whole time. Where I’m use to people sitting together, enjoying a beer of wine together, now people are sitting on their own, having their phone, ipad of tablet in their hand, being busy on Facebook, chatting with people they already know instead of meeting new people. It’s their choice, but not mine. I’ve been to so many beautiful places and the thing I always discovered: it’s not the places you go to, it’s the people with whom you are which makes a place an extraordinary place.
So I’m going to stop writing this blog, going to put my computer away and sit with somebody, starting a real conversation. Not screen to screen, but face to face.