The first time my girlfriend brought the ultimate travel accessory out of her bag I thought it was a bit of a gimmick; this chunky retro camera that was a throwback to the nineties. After a week I had decided that the Fuji Instax Mini is the ultimate travel accessory around and I was glad we had it for our holiday diving in Raja Ampat
All of us live in a digital age and as we travel we use this digital technology to record the world around us. We take photos of everyone that we meet and everything that we see. It fits perfectly with the mantra of green travel, “take only pictures, leave only footprints.” Yet these words can belie how incredibly intrusive photos can be.
Children are the ones who are most often the focus of all these tourist photo taking. They may be playing or sitting down relaxing and then a group of tourists appear with cameras and the peace is broken. At its worst it starts as an endless set of commands, barked from a dozen different people. “Stand here, look at me, smile, look this way, get closer, and again…”
I watched this scene replayed repeatedly over the course of a week in Raja Ampat. The children would go from something in between happiness and acceptance to boredom and then annoyance. In really popular tourist spots I noticed that children would often just walk away at the first sign of a group of tourists, knowing full well what will happen if they don’t. The ultimate travel accessory changed all that for us.
For those of you not familiar with the Fuji Instax Mini, it’s basically an old-fashioned Polaroid (when Polaroid went bust, Fuji decided to buy up the technology). You point, click and an instant photograph pops out of the top. Every time we came across a group of kids, my girlfriend would take out the ultimate travel accessory and snap a photo of the children, which she’d give away.
Wherever she did this the result was always the same. Immediately the kids faces would light up, they’d smile and laugh and point at the photos and chatter excitedly amongst themselves. They’d run off to show their parents the photos. In short these photos are a great present for people who lack a camera and have never received anything from the hundreds of photos tourists have taken of them. This is why I think this camera, which brings a smile to so many, really has to be the ultimate travel accessory.