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The Travel Detective

The Travel Detective: Modern Travelers

Travel is an unnatural act. For the last 200,000 years, we were hunter-gatherers. For the last 200 years, we’ve been modern tourists.

We’re not opening any new trade routes. We’re not fighting any holy wars. We’re just going from place to place, hotel room to hotel room.
But what do we do when we get there? What do we see?
We know from research that 75% of hotel guests say they want a pool or gym, but we also know that only 25% of those guests actually use the pool or gym. 
The fact is, in general, we travelers don’t really know what we want. Mostly what we do is wander around and look at stuff that looks or sounds vaguely appealing. 
But we’re still hardwired for hunting and gathering. And so, to square this circle, we’ve unconsciously turned hunting and gathering into dining and shopping. It’s what feels most natural.
Another form of gathering is taking photos. Some people may even think of the tourist snap as a form of trophy collecting.
But I’d suggest that photography has taken on a new role–a ceremony. When you climb a mountain, it’s easy to see when you’re done because you’re at the top.  
But when you’re looking at a famous attraction, when are you done? You could conceivably look at it for a few minutes, or hours, or days. Taking a photo has come to mark a way that we’re finished. 
You may have heard someone say this before. In fact, you may have said this yourself, “Take a photo and let’s go.” Next time, I have a better idea. Say, “Take a photo, and let’s stay.”
By Doug Lansky for