Travelling without the iPod

2 Jan

At a time, when anyone and everyone is seen with little white earbuds in their ears; on the bus, on the train, in school, on the street, riding their bike, I find it necessary to point out certain times to leave the iPod at home.

And one of those times I find it not only necessary, but critical that you leave your iPod or any other electronics at home, is when you are travelling. Let’s face it, if you went through the effort of lugging mini speakers along for your iPod, you probably didnt venture too far off the beaten path, and that beach your at will probably have somebody else playing Bob Marley anyways. And nothing screams “don’t talk to me I’m antisocial” like headphones on while riding the train or bus to the next city on your itinerary. Point is, if your blocking out your surroundings on a trip, your also blocking out potential conversations and experiences at a time when you should be absorbing as much as possible.

Travelling is about experiences, its not about killing time between the next “snap a picture proof I was here lets move on now” moments. It’s about listening to the sounds around you, the way the train wheels squeel along the tracks, the strange music that bus driver is playing, picking out key words in a conversation between people speaking a foreign language your trying to grasp. This is it, you went through a great deal of trouble to be somewhere else other than home, you came to see how people live, new smells hit your nostrils, your touching and feeling, why not listen, listen to the sounds of this new place.

You’ll be surprised at how many chance encounters with friendly strangers can happen when you simply open yourself up to the possibilty of interaction. You can listen to your new playlist anytime when you are at home, how many opportunities are there to converse with somebody who lives a world away?

Are we in a new era of antisocial behavior never seen before? Is it healthy? Lynne Truss doesn’t think so, in her book ‘Talk to the Hand’ she figures “this is an age of social autism, in which people just can’t see the value of imagining their impact on others..”. Not convinced? Google the term “ipod antisocial” and you’ll find a plethora of articles and blogs discussing the topic.

So if a cellphone or an iPod can have such detrimental effects to our social life at home, the reasons to leave the iPod behind are only compounded when embarking on a new trip. So do yourself a favor, when your packing your bag, leave the iPod in the dock, you’ll be glad you did.

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