no photos please

crossed out Tower Bridge

Nowadays that everything is discovered and connected, we don’t even need to leave our houses to see the world. TV, internet, books.. they all show photos of every conceivable place, in the first two cases sometimes including sounds. We can join other people’s discoveries from our couches.

If we intend to step out of the door ourselves, however,  it quickly becomes a  mission to visit all the things we have seen on TV and, in a way, know already –  a complementary experience of “the real thing”.

However, in my eyes this lessens the spirit of discovery and adventure of travel. Having too much specific visual information about any given place before actually going makes travelling a litte less exciting and memorable. Of course, it’s still the real thing as opposed to a photo, but still, you’ve seen it before. The best experiences and discoveries on my travels, however, were the unexpected ones, the places I had no idea existed – therefore, before leaving, I will not look at more than the inevitable amount of pictures.

So, how to find out where to go, you ask?
One of the best ways to gather information about those travel-worthy locations is to talk to other travellers, find out what places they liked and why, and consider whether you’d like them too (!) and then eventually go there. You will get a lot of other tips too, and you might be pointed into directions you hadn’t considered before.
This way you will get a good level of information: You will know where to head for an interesting time, you will know how to get there and what to do there, but the images in your head won’t be the same.

Thus, even if all places of the earth are explored already, it won’t matter, because it is the first time you discovered them. There won’t be any medals and (official) naming of places, of course, but how important is that?
If you had no idea what the Taj Mahal looked like and went there on recommendation – what a revelation! Of course sights of this size are hard to miss, but some slightly smaller ones are not quite so well-known. And creating your own photos without all the perfect guidebook pictures in mind can be refreshing too.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you prefer to scout places via photos beforehand or not?

PS: Of course seeing the one or other picture won’t fully spoil the experience. I’m talking about big photo books and documentaries and some travel guide books here.


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