I studied abroad at Duquesne’s Dublin campus this past fall. It was an incredible experience and, of course, I came back with tons of photos that I can sift through from time-to-time. One crevice of my iPhone I had not examined in a while, however, was the “Voice Memos” app. Who uses that, right?
I forgot I had, in fact, used it on a long weekend I spent in Lisbon, Portugal. My housemate and I had just hopped off the plane and went to the metro station that would take us into town. There were women coming back from doing their shopping, children telling their parents about their day at school, but more importantly, a very notable busker. He was playing an accordion, and on his shoulder, sat a tiny monkey shaking a donation cup at jaded passengers. It was a perfect sensory introduction to Lisbon. I did something I hadn’t done yet on my travels: I captured an audio snippet instead of taking a photo.
Thinking back, this isn’t such a bad idea. Taking out a phone and shoving it in unsuspecting locals’ faces is rude, to say the least. And it causes you to stand out. I find myself much more relaxed and open to the environment around me when I blend in. So, discretely pulling out one’s phone to record audio instead of a photo helps you to avoid these faux pas.
Beyond these social queues, the audio clip brings back a richer memory of the trip than any photo I took. It’s a sensory element that can stir up nostalgia in a much different way.
So, here is the audio bit and a photo for context. When you’re traveling this summer, take advantage of that “Voice Memos” tool. You’ll thank me later.