Today the world is much smaller. And that's because of technological development. In particular, phones. Being a bit older than the millennium, I am blessed to come from two worlds. A page that is remembered when looking at a cell phone is similar to seeing a unicorn. And on the other side, the world where everyone is glued to their screens. Although I really appreciate both sides of the coin, I think I'm blessed to be somewhere in the middle. Where I regularly use my phone at will, rather than having social / cultural needs.
My appreciation for what mobile phones do to connect humanity knows no bounds. I think we are too often entangled in the "negative" aspects of technology and forget to highlight the amazing things it has done to improve life in so many ways. When I saw monks in Angkor Wat using tablets, I knew that the world had changed forever in that respect.
The people of DREI have asked me to share my opinion as to why phones are good. I could go on and on talking about how phones have become instruments of social activism, political reform and investigative journalism. But I want to focus on what I love most. Travel.
Phones have changed the way we capture the world
Photography has captured some of the most important moments in human history. This makes it one of the most enduring media of storytelling ever created. In a less grandiose sense, we can capture the everyday moments that we sometimes take for granted. The meeting of two strangers. Watching how someone feeds birds. Or even the moment a couple says "I do". Photography is an excellent gateway to humanity and travel.
As a photojournalist, sharing my work with the world is paramount. And with social media dominating people's attention, it's only natural that my phone has become an important addition not only to my business but also to my creativity. There are times when my professional camera is intrusive, intimidating or completely forbidden. I have to use my cell phone to capture those special moments. From sellers in a market to people who pray. I can only fade in a bit more with my phone.
Today, with YouTube becoming increasingly important to my work, my phone has become my primary video camera. Due to the small size, the image quality and the commonality, I can move much more freely while capturing these "in between" travel moments. Those who really bring a story together.
Phones have made us all true discoverers
I started traveling long before smartphones were in everyone's pocket. The days when you actually had to print maps and ask the locals for directions. While I really miss those days of interpersonal connection, easy navigation has made traveling far more accessible to people. That is the foundation of my career.
Apps like Google Maps and Waze have not just evolved to get you from point A to point B. You have come to the point where you can recommend activities, restaurants and even hotels for your entire visit. Not to mention how important they are to us hikers.
As a photographer, my path is rarely trodden. Detours have become the norm and I am looking forward to finding the unknown. While navigation apps have the ability to change direction at short notice, it's critical to my mental health. I enjoy the opportunity to see a new place, enter the name and immediately learn everything I need to know about it. Additional tools such as Street View allow me to "find" a location long before my arrival. This allows me to make my planning and my time on site more efficient. Crucial for these tight deadlines.
Phones are the modern Rosetta Stone
Languages and I do not understand each other. I understand Romance languages quite well, but I'm not so lucky when it comes to others. I can not tell you how many times I've landed in places like Ukraine, Myanmar or Taiwan, without knowing how to speak / read the local language. In places like these, the situation becomes more and more difficult as there is very little English spoken. While it made for some great adventures, it could be a serious problem for less experienced travelers.
Translation apps have become an absolute lifesaver. From important words to allergies, instructions and prices to meaningful conversations with locals. My phone has become a tool that I can communicate with almost anyone in the world. As a colorful man, my presence in many places surprises people. When I approach them with my cell phone, I show my willingness to communicate that I do not pose a threat, and my openness to the friendliness of the locals. All the qualities that are highly appreciated by the locals.
In many ways, technology has become part of many of our identities. And I believe that this can be a problem at the very end. However, I think that with a clear balance, targeted goals and the constant evolution of the phones, we can continue to benefit from the telephones that enrich our lives.
This is an article on paid partnerships with Three, a mobile phone operator in the UK Mobile phones are good Campaign. Three think phones have become too hard lately. Far from putting an end to humanity, they believe they bring people together. Think about it. These pocket rockets help us plan our social lives, find love, build relationships, conduct business, and create memories. They also keep us in touch, including 71 destinations worldwide Three's Go Roam Suggestion. As part of the paid article, Three asked me to share my personal experiences about why phones are good. These opinions, stories and pictures are my own.
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