How can someone spend a day in one of the most beautiful places in the world just scrolling through their iPhone? Is not the pull of adventure and vast wilderness enough to lift one from such tedious curiosities? Is not a mountainous 360° view more breathtaking than that bowl of pho your Facebook friend had for lunch? I would surely hope so.
I have previously mentioned my time spent in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland and of all its glorious surroundings, but there was one instance in the valley that made me question things, namely a few of the people we met there.
In our hostel room there were three young men who never left. Well perhaps they did but whenever we would leave, come back, drop something off, or pick something up… they were always there. What’s worse is that they were lying on their bunks, all with iPhones in hand, not talking. I found it strange at the time, but looking back it seems rather ludicrous now.
I felt as though they were wasting the day, maybe simply unaware or unappreciative of what an amazing place they were in. I found myself slightly judgmental and thoroughly perplexed. There was nothing I would rather do than spend my limited time in such a foreign land exploring the mess out of it. What can you see or learn from a place if you remain stationary long-term, and indoors no less?
On the train ride out of Lauterbrunnen, our sedentary hostel-mates crossed my mind again. Maybe it was true that they had been out all day (or night) and needed a few rest days, or that they just happened to be back in the room every time we were, or they just didn’t like it in the valley. Who knows?
I wondered if that was all they prefer to do at home too. It may be part of our 20-something culture to be stuck in social media and internet feeds but, when traveling, that seems like something to avoid with fervor.
But then I got to thinking what should make a day in the valley different than any other regular day at home? Sure, it is beautiful but who is to say that a day in Lauterbrunnen should be valued higher than a day somewhere else, say, home for example; that it should be a greater sin to waste time in the valley than time in your hometown?
I know I have personally wasted a lot of time waiting to go to work, being tired afterwards, sleeping in too late or watching television, etc. But to think that I could’ve been out and about, thoroughly enjoying the place I was in (even if it was just at home) is something of a regret.
I have since come to realize that a day is a day no matter where you are, and that none of them should go to waste. Travelling has opened my eyes to the vastness and differences that make up our world; how there is an impossible amount of things to see and learn and do; but also how you can get a fairly surprising amount done in just one day. Most importantly, it has made me realize even further just how important and valuable the people in your life are and how the time we have here with them should never be taken for granted.
It’s funny how much you can learn about life and yourself just from wandering around and thinking about things. I certainly would not have come to such a conclusion lying around with my phone all day.