I remember travelling as a kid and watching with envy if I noticed any adults around me carried a set of binoculars.
Black or army surplus green chipped metal. Often carried in rigid leather shoulder satchels.
It seemed a far more common occurrence than is generally seen today. These days, it’s all about the photograph. Every experience is assessed and composed for its Instagram or Facebook post-worthiness.
Just yesterday I watched as a mother was begging her young daughter to pose in front of a cool stained glass doorway whilst she snapped some pics. The girl just wanted to go play. Please! After getting an appropriately cute and spontaneous pose I watched mum immediately filter and upload the post, thumbs eagerly tapping out some like-worthy caption.
Anyways, we have started carrying a pair of binoculars with us when travelling.
It is a totally different experience to share a pair of binocs whilst watching some wildlife, or scenery, or even spying on that couple walking their dog way down the beach. You are fully immersed in the moment rather than the potential of the moment to decorate your social media stream.
You talk about what you are looking at. You pay attention to the details. You are not trying to compose the scene. It seems to foster deeper shared experiences rather than shallow Instagram moments.
Sure, keep your camera at hand to capture a few keepsakes, but try packing some binocs (you can pick up a pair for peanuts) …and find an appropriate place to settle in for a few moments to share the process of simply watching.