It’s fun to travel outside of your own country, and sometimes it puts you in a whole new mindset when it comes to where you live, how you live, and how you consume information and media. We heard from photographer Casey Hendrickson after her trip to Italy, France, and England.
She shared with us some GORGEOUS photos and also a little wisdom on maintaining perspective on the current state of life in the U.S. and knowing when to take a step back for self-care purposes. We all have to remain engaged and active in this political climate, but you’ve got to take mental breaks, too. Here’s her take on traveling in Europe (and elsewhere), and a whole slew of photos to give us all the travel-hungry mind break we all need from time to time…
After a long day of travel, I returned to the states to find my sweet man waiting on me with my pup and an empty car ready to haul all of my luggage back home to my bed. But there it was. Political news. News in general. In every car around us, and also his. It was something that made me realize that, as Americans, we truly are a ‘living in fear’ society. I didn’t realize HOW much stress it places on our lives until I am somewhere where the internet doesn’t work well, and the restaurants have zero televisions blasting the current murders and attacks throughout the world. You are forced to take a step back, enjoy your surroundings, and be present with those you are with. You are forced to actually experience that culture, take in the artistry of their dishes they serve, and communicate with one another.
Despite everything that I took away from this trip, the beauty of not hearing the news 24/7 will certainly be what sticks in my mind as the best part. It sounds wild, but just stop — take a breath — and try to go just a single day without social media, television, and radio. It also helps if you physically can’t read headlines on newspapers.
Here are some of my favorite images of the cities we visited. – Casey
On to the travel porn!
All photos by Casey Hendrickson Photography
Comments on Traveling gave me perspective on our media consumption (& the break I needed!)
I think it’s really sort of telling that her photos contain almost no people. How can one ‘take in the culture’ without the people that make the culture? Her statement feels very privileged to me. We can critique the US media and practice good self-care but it is foolish to make this an American thing and how great it is that everyone else tunes this stuff out. It is making the assumption that non-of this stuff matters because it is unlikely to affect her so it’s greatest impact is hearing about it. France, Italy, and the UK have 24-hour news channels. France has been in a state of emergency since 2015 with a growing fascist party and multiple terror attacks. Italy too has a growing fascist movement that is threatening the stability of the republic and almost dismantled the government in 2016. The UK is waking up to the reality that Brexit will damn future generations. We are living in extraordinary times and chances are they will get a lot worse before they get better. I think it is extremely ill-advised to advocate for a ‘just ignore it and look at the pretty picture’ attitude. The people in those countries are worried as you walk along a blithe tourist. And going to places without the means of telecommunication does not lessen that fact. They have to not only deal with the problems of the day as they come with few resources but they don’t even get the benefit of knowing that they are coming.
As a professional photographer, she may have respectfully decided not to post images of strangers on a public web site without their permission.
With respect, I disagree that this article is advocating a “just ignore it and look at the pretty picture attitude”. I think it’s actually about gratitude and kindness to oneself.
I was so relieved to read this article, to see an acknowledgement that it’s good to take a break from news coverage. I wrote something similar recently and it was accepted for publication here but I balked at the last minute about publishing because my anxiety was not in a good enough place to take comments that mirrored the judgmental negative chatter allready going on in my own head. It’s better now so here goes….
Clearly we all want to be engaged with current issues, both in the sense of receiving knowledge about them and taking action. My own experience is that I am more engaged (in both senses but especially the second) not when fuelled by solid 24 hour news coverage, but by the combination of keeping informed AND moments off, where I do enjoy what pleasures I am deeply deeply grateful to have, like some nice food with good company. I am a more effective person and therefore more useful to the world if I am kind to myself. I am going to stick my neck out and say that surely goes for any human being.
I can hear the shouts already that this is surely a position of privilege, to even have a choice but the truth is that we are all come out in different places on the privilege scale depending on what issue you are looking at, therefore we all have more choices in some areas and less in others. I can’t deny that some seem groups seem to have wildly unfairly more choices and others criminally unjustly few choices, but not exercising choice to rest and recharge where you have it and someone else doesn’t, doesn’t seem to do much for the person who doesn’t have that choice to me. A first aid responder has the privilege of not being in pain that the person trapped under a car they have been called to treat doesn’t have, but it is clearly not going to help the patient if the first aid responder causes themselves pain in sympathy. It’s also going to really help the person trapped under the car if the first aid responder has rested well between shifts and is therefore at full capacity to help.
I think Audre Lorde, a human who has considerably less privilege overall than me, makes the point much better with her thought that self-care is warfare, that caring for yourself in the face of a system designed to oppress (both you and others) is an act of resistance. I don’t think kindness to yourself and kindness to others needs to be mutually exclusive I really don’t, in fact I think they are mutually productive. 🙂