It happened on the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic at sunset – one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. The silhouettes of saints and Gothic towers along the bridge. The Prague Castle and spires of St. Vitus Cathedral peaking the hill. The sun’s fluid waves in its reflection off the Vltava River. And that’s when it happened. My smart phone battery died. Of course, it died. I’d been using it all day to record and photograph pretty much everything as we traversed Prague. Now what?
In that moment, when I was forced to just be present and not distracted by the ‘need’ to record and photograph everything, I was able to be mindful and completely experience the beauty of the sunset with my family. I chatted with my daughter, who was entranced by the way the setting sun glittered off the river. As I looked at her in this moment, I noticed how her eyes reflected the setting sun. It was so beautiful.
This unplugged moment also allowed me to look around and notice that there were many people with their phones glued to their faces as I had been. They were taking picture after picture and editing on the spot. Selfie after selfie until they got it ‘right.’ They now had proof that they had been in Prague on the Charles Bridge, but I wonder if they were actually experiencing the moment. Would they have vivid memories to look back on, or just photographic proof? I’m not judging, just observing.
This experience has ignited a new determination inside me to live in the moment, not just on my travels, but also in everyday life. Of course, I’m still going to take pictures, but I’m going to limit the number of pictures I take at ‘must see’ tourist spots and never do on the spot editing. Then I will put my phone away and enjoy the moment with my family and live presently.
Have you noticed this as well? That the moments and experiences you can actually remember and recall in vivid detail are the moments that you put your phone/camera away?