Selfie Sticks versus Horse-Drawn Carriages

by Thomas Masuch - 19/09/09

Column »Outside the Box«

Anyone who has ever visited Rome will have seen not only the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill, and the Circus Maximus, but also vast droves of tourists, countless selfie-stick vendors, and endless queues stretching off into the distance. Travel has changed, thanks not least to cheap flights, travel portals, and Google Maps. These days, anyone who wants to see other countries can do so without a hefty budget, foreign language skills, or local knowledge.

Apparently, the motivation of many travelers has also changed: In the dim distant past people, »traveled not to arrive, but to travel« (Goethe). But now, representatives of the younger generation feel magnetized by how well certain places fit their Instagram feed. One study shows that 40.1 percent of Millennials choose their destinations according to compatibility with their social media channels. According to travel portal Momondo, suitability for social media is a factor even when it comes to food. (Incidentally, avocado toast rates very highly in this respect.)

Looking back, we can’t say for certain whether Goethe’s famous Italian journey from 1786 to 1788 would have turned out differently if the great poet had had an Ins tagram account and had bought a selfie stick at the Colosseum. Maybe he would never have made it as far as Sicily – opting, rather, to take photos of himself with avocado toast at the Trevi Fountain. Instead, however, he continued his unhip journey south by horse-drawn carriage and occupied himself with dull things like »people, inns, contemporary conditions, and attitudes«.

3D memories

Of course, photos, posts, and videos of foreign locations are also an attempt to bring the exoticism of these distant places back home or into our familiar network. In his day, Goethe knew only too well that this can never quite succeed, because »foreign countries have a foreign life, and we cannot make that life our own«, no matter how much we enjoy these countries as visitors.

But such words of wisdom are not necessarily true for all time. Even Goethe couldn’t have imagined that, in 2019, Samsung would launch its Note10+, which allows you to capture not only photos but also 3D models. So, when you get home, you can print the most striking motifs from your time abroad – in real 3D, of course. Alternatively, you could buy a selfie 3D printer at the Colosseum for use on the road.