Experience Still Matters

After our boat docked on the shore of Apo Island, we started to prepare on what we came for: snorkeling and swimming with the turtles. You will see different species of turtles that swim freely even on chest-deep water. However, we have no underwater camera to be used during snorkeling. 😦 Good news is, the guide has a GoPro available for rent. Bad news is, it is worth P1,200 and we are short of cash. Seriously? We even came to the point of begging even just to get one shot each!

It made me realize, is it really worth it? Will my experience be affected if I don’t get one photo underwater?

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When I found out that we will have no camera to be used underwater, I had the inane thought that nobody would see that I had gone swimming with turtles. You know, if it isn’t uploaded on social media, it never happened. That kind of mentality. What a silly thought! It has always been about Facebook and Instagram. But when I saw the underwater world with the corals, colorful fishes and of course the turtles, I just savored the moment. I could not believe how close I could get to them. It was then that I realized that enjoying every experience is what that really matters.

I think it’s all about the photo now, and not the experience itself, like going to other places just for the photos (I am guilty for this.)  Travel for me should be about the people you meet and the impact they have on you. It’s about overcoming challenges and learning new things. I’m actually thinking of not bringing a camera or a phone on my next travel, I wonder if I can do that!

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I love photography but sometimes when I go to places I just put my camera down and take what I call a “mental picture”. These snapshots are the most precious since they will always be there in my memory. I only take my camera in case I see something beautiful or worth-it. I’m finding that aspect taking away a small part of my enjoyment of the experience though.

And also while traveling I feel so pressured to make the most of every moment by rushing to every tourist spot to take photos and not make memories. I forget to appreciate what it is I am actually doing. Social media turned my life into daily doses of documentation.

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I know I take a lot of photos wherever I go, but I think there can be a balance. What I try to do is snap a few photos here and there and call it good because I still want to enjoy myself.  I remember the last time I went to a concert; everyone was watching the performance from behind their phones, instead of being present.  And the sad part is I saw myself doing that,too.

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So to the guide with a super pricey GoPro rental and to Apo Island, thank you very much for the reminder to live in the moment!

-F

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27 thoughts on “Experience Still Matters

    1. I agree with you. Unfortunately I too make the same mistakes. Rushing my family from place to the next. Not allowing them to enjoy. So guilty of this. Taking pictures just so I can show off to my friends.
      Reading your post has made me think twice

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Smart post, been thinking about this last few months and really it’s all about the experience. While we try to record what’s in front of us we forget to live the moment. Keep blogging 🙂

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  2. This is beautiful. I do have a question, if the place has a sign to stay away, as in one of your pictures, why do people still in the water?

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    1. What they meant was unsupervised entry. You need to hire a tour guide to accompany you during snorkeling to make sure the corals and turtles are not harmed.

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  3. I couldn’t agree more and I am SO guilty of this! When I plan a trip it crosses my mind what photo-ops there will be. SO SAD! I too am practicing greater presence and intentionality!

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  4. I totally understand you, the duality between you wanting to share your experience and the need for letting the camera down for a while and just take that mental picture.

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  5. Sometimes we are so caught up on social media and stuff like this that we forget to actually enjoy the moment for what it actually is. Great post!

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  6. I agree with you 100% That’s the problem with living in a selfie generation; it’s easy to not appreciate the here and now because I often find myself on my phone (jacked into The Matrix basically!). So thanks for an interesting post!

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  7. Oh my, you’re making me jealous with these pictures… Right now it’s snowing heavily in Canada, where I am and this looks like heaven)) Thanks for the share!

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  8. Great pictures, that place looks amazing! I do the same thing when I don’t have a camera on me ‘take a mental picture’ I want to be there laying on a hammock !

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  9. Beautiful pics! I too am guilty of taking tonnes of photos everywhere I go. It is mainly because I feel there will never be the same exact moment ever again and I want to capture it so that I can relive and reminisce in the future. I much prefer doing this than relying on my memory! ; )

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  10. What a lovely story. I think we all need a kick up the backside to make us realise that experience is more important than our image on social media. Glad that you enjoyed the turtles, that’s a dream of mine!

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  11. I agree with you! We tend to forget to savor the moment we have when we travel because we are “obliged” to take photos. That’s why whenever we have the chance to travel or go to a place we think we won’t come back again, we allot “enough” time to take photos and a time to savor the moment.

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  12. This is a great post. I totally agree with you. When we travel, we take our cameras with us. But we don’t do as much picture taking because we like to see things in action and picture things in our mind.

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