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Christine Negroni

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What We Lose When Travel Becomes A Highlight Reel

Posted: 08/18/11 03:00 PM ET

I'm not sure how I feel about the videos recently posted on Gizmodo in which three young men travel through 11 countries in 44 days and sum it all up in a three one-minute-long videos.

I started smiling at the first episode, titled MOVE, as brief but beautiful shots of the three men clicked by. Here they were in cornfields, then on beaches, in alleyways, touring museums, on train tracks, crossing bridges and city streets.

A month and a half around the world, distilled down to one minute, flying by me so fast some locales didn't even register.

In the second video, EAT, my mouth watered as plates of ceviche, pasta and crème brûlée were plunked onto the travelers' dining table or crickets—yep, crickets—chili dogs and popcorn-coated candy apples were hungrily shoved down their handsome gullets.

By episode three, LEARN, the pace finally slowed as the young travelers shared through images and music what the world had to teach them: Flamenco dancing, rock climbing, weaving, bull riding, flower stringing, weight lifting and chocolate making.

It's a travelogue in the Eat, Pray, Love style and a novel approach to sharing one's trip. What saddens me is the truth behind the abbreviation. In a race to share it all, there's no time to waste on the dull bits, the waiting for the train, the interaction of lovers on a bridge, the conversation with the taxi driver or the greeting of the overnight hotel clerk as you arrive late for another night in a strange bed.

Travel can be distilled so that it becomes all highlights, all the time—but then you lose the unspectacular details like the grit of the road you shake out of your suitcase before returning it to the attic.

What traveling around the world looks like in three minutes is a paean to an increasingly shortened attention span. I want to linger and sometimes even be bored listening to the too-wordy stories that accompany a thick stack of vacation snapshots.

That's probably because I'm old enough to remember when people returned from a trip and showed their slides in a darkened living room. But I'm young enough to recognize that the pace of life has picked up.

So a round of equivocal applause to the men behind the imaginative idea that a few short videos can capture a worldwide adventure. It was beautiful, gents, but you could have given us more.

 

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