Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gone Digital

Film is another thing Rick Steves says he has stopped discussing in his books, because he feels that most tourists have gone digital.

Although I still love the idea of art photography on film, and do own a film camera, I don’t really miss the practice of worrying about film while traveling. Hustling up multiple rolls before departure, keeping them separate from the exposed film, trying to find camera shops in strange cities when I inevitably ran out, worrying about the airport x-ray machines ruining my photos….none of these rituals is one I am nostalgic about.

I know a lot of things about travel used to be easier in the old days. You used to be able to wear shoes, pack nail clippers, and carry an oil drum full of shampoo if you wanted to, as long as it fit in the overhead bin and you could demonstrate that it wouldn’t ignite as you chain-smoked in your seat.

Travel has obviously acquired some inconveniences in recent years. But I find it helpful to remember that it has shed some, too. Modern technology means we never have to worry about leaving the airplane tickets at home, or running out of film just as the Loch Ness Monster is ready for its close-up.

Those thoughts don’t entirely take the sting out of having children laugh at you as you get jets of air shot at you in a little glass cage and strangers root through your luggage, but they help a little.

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