We’re in Italy with our fall trips. I was just out on the streets and heard an exchange between four Americans that made me wonder. One of the two women said,
“That is unbelievable. I’m going to call Sandra and tell her.”
One of the two men replied,
“Can’t you just be in the moment. Why do you have to call her.”
So. Is this ability to call home a blessing or a curse? My gut reaction is curse. Curse because it means she isn’t really experiencing the event. She is behaving like a camera: Capture, distribute. Something has struck her and rather than enjoy it, or even share it with her 3 traveling companions, she wants to call someone thousands of miles away to relay the event. It also conveys the message that the person to be called is more important than those you are with. In a way it is like so many tourists from Asia who I see walking with camera glued to the front of their face, taking pictures but not looking at anything because the camera is all they really see – a filter from the true experience.
But maybe this is a blessing. This woman can share whatever moved her with a friend far away, who, perhaps, was unable to make the trip. It is a way to engage her. This connectedness does indeed make the world smaller.
Ultimately, however, I think it is a curse. We have largely forgotten to live in the moment. Because we can, we call, we get on the Internet using our phone to check something out, we are present with our body only, not our brain.
This is why I love our trips, which are a combination of art and Italy. Having the focus of doing an art project – be it painting, journaling, photography, textile, mixed media, book making, mosaic, writing – means that our participants are in the moment, taking it in and then expressing it in their art. Even though they do connect via e-mail or phone with those not here, they are very much here when not connected, enjoying and savoring Italy. Italy, being such an incredible place in its ability to make all the senses come alive, brings you alive – even if you are connecting to the world outside.