There's nothing like the firsthand experience of visiting another culture. Meeting local residents, tasting exotic flavors, visiting historic sites, viewing different architecture, all play an important role in the travel experience. Capturing the journey with photographs is a way of preserving the memories, and also sharing them.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are being used to share travel experiences as they occur. Imagine my surprise when I logged on to see a photo of my son on a camel in Morocco! Just days before I had scrolled through a hundred or so photos of beautiful architecture which excited me because it let me know how much he was getting out of the trip. However, it was the photo of him riding a camel in the Sahara Desert that made the trip real for me because it's a record of him doing something he's never done before and won't likely do again for years. Of course this is the photo that got the most activity on Facebook and is now his profile picture!
Since this is the 21st century, even if you're as far away as Morocco, you can post photos, if not instantly, usually sometime that day, letting all your contacts know what you've seen. This has allowed me to experience my son's two week trip to Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakesh, Merzouga, Fez and the Atlas Mountains vicariously, in real time. My desire for more information regarding what year a building was constructed, who created the Islamic art, and what the colorful mosaics represent, led me to the travel collection on the second floor of the library. Browsing the collection, I stumbled upon, "The Villas and Riads of Morocco" by Corinne Verner which has become my source of knowledge, allowing me to further tell the story of the pictures. The book is a "vivid history of the country's residential architecture and its fascinating mix of Andalusian, Arab, and Saharan influences 'The Villas and Riads of Morocco' not only offers a feast for the eyes but also illuminates an entire culture." I am now able to match the captionless photos in Facebook to the descriptions in the book and satisfy my quest for knowledge as an armchair traveler. I may not be riding through the desert on a camel anytime soon, but I definitely have learned a lot about Morocco through the lens of my son and the library's collection.
Photos courtesy of A Hauge