It’s a global selfie obsession. The whole world seems to have become totally obsessed with selfies. Grabbing that killer profile pic for Facebook or Twitter appears to be priority number one. And I’ve noticed this more than ever during the first few weeks of my current backpacking trip. I think it’s sad.
I’ve visited some amazing places in the great outdoors of New Zealand, Fiji and Australia – mountain summits, sandy beaches, pristine islands. Places that should capture 100 per cent of your attention. Places to truly be in the moment and to experience quietly in your own time. But instead this is what happens.
A hundred GoPros, digital cameras and smart phones are pulled out of bags and pockets. Everyone gets trigger happy, snapping away in a photographic frenzy. Amid the mayhem they forget something crucial – to actually enjoy the experience. They fail to look – really look – at the views, to feel the sand beneath their toes or the wind in their hair, to listen to the sounds of the lapping waves and calling birds.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no expert in mindfulness (the art of being in the moment) and I do take selfies. Some of these places are perfect for photography and I would never begrudge anyone for taking up the opportunity. But it has gone too far, I fear.
When I was in Otuehi Bay in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, (see my full review of touring NZ in a campervan here) I saw tourist after tourist hike to a viewing point, grab about 47 selfies and then walk back down again straight away. I only witnessed one other person besides me put the camera down, head away from the crowds to another hill and take a few quiet minutes to breathe in the moment. I’m sure that person had a richer experience. I know I did.