Unplugged Travel

It’s this time of year that I am able to catch up on the 40 or so travel magazines that have formed various piles around my apartment.  National Geographic Traveler, Afar, Travel and Leisure… to quote a good friend, it’s like my porn.  But I do more than just look at the pictures, I actually read (most of) the articles.

This particular passage from Travel and Leisure (October 2011 issue, The Global Nomad) really resonated with me.  For as much as I love to share photos and stories and updates while I travel, I also love putting all of the gadgets away and really appreciating where I am.  Travel is a form of escape and one cannot truly experience this unless they are unplugged:

What seems lacking from the current welter of digital communications is a sense of people using travel in the oldest of ways: to escape.  The great beauty of travel, after all, is that it forces you to leave the keyboard, glance up from the PDA, and get out of the house and into the world.  It is only when you stop wielding handheld devices as shields or weapons, when you pocket the electronic third eye, that it is possible to have a good look around.

I love that feeling.  Of being completely immersed in a place, surrounded by sights, smells, sounds that completely overload my senses.  Perhaps that why I’ve chosen to have this photo at the top of my blog.  It was taken by my friend, Tami, as we began our descent from Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro.  I didn’t know the photo was being taken and didn’t even see it until we had been back in Chicago for a few weeks, but I love the memory it evokes.  The wind that stung my face.  How bright it was once the sun rose.  The aching in my tired legs.  The cold, thin air that filled my lungs.  The sense of accomplishment after reaching a goal.  This was a unique moment in my life and I’m lucky that Tami was there to capture it.

The un-cropped photo.

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