Living in the Moment – a travel memoir

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Distancing oneself from social media is very important at times. People are so often caught up in something online that it takes away from experiences in nature. During a trip in the summer of 2017, I learned that being present with others and with nature is a big part of one’s happiness.  

My dad, brother, and I drove 50 hours from Michigan to California. I was reluctant to go on the trip at first as it involved driving for hours with nothing to do, but I hesitantly packed my bag and curled up in the back seat of the car. At the beginning of the journey, I continuously surrounded myself with technology. My headphones were on, and I had few interactions with my dad and brother. I stared at my phone, scrolling through Instagram for hours at a time. As time went by, there was nothing left for me to do on my phone, so I started to pay attention to what was around me. I saw clouds, mountains, rivers, sunsets, animals. It was beautiful. As I slowly started to forget about my phone, I remembered the importance of nature. Each day, I grew more amazed by everything I saw. We decided to stop by a couple of places on the way to California. My favorite destination was White Sands, New Mexico. This national monument was the most peaceful place I’ve ever been. The only things around me were my brother, my dad, and white sand everywhere. The wind was calm, and walking through the dunes made me forget about all of my problems. I was there in the moment, feeling completely happy, without any stress or worry.

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This experience boosted the rest of the trip. I was excited by everything I saw. We stopped by the Grand Canyon, Malibu beach, and many other places. I took pictures of everything, which reminded me of my love of photography.

I didn’t take pictures for social media, I took them because it made me happy.

Towards the end of the trip, as we drove along route 66, I finally understood the importance of distancing myself from the online world and focusing on the one right in front of me.

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I can’t even remember the beginning of the trip when I was stuck on my phone, and I completely regret that now. What I do remember is talking, laughing, walking along the sand, and feeling complete. I remember living in each moment, and not wasting hours of my day staring at a screen.

My advice? Open your eyes and look around, because there is so much that’s worth experiencing. Have a good time for yourself, not for your followers. Travel if you can, appreciate nature, and live in the moment.

Anisha Fujii
Anisha Fujii is a junior in high school from Ann Arbor, MI. With parents from Japan and Sri Lanka, she enjoys visiting those two countries and others around the world. Photos shared in this post are by Anisha.