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Traveling And Instagramming The World Before Going Blind

An Australian woman diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease that will soon take her sight decided she would travel the world and document her photos on Instagram.

Taken from Lara Miller's Instagram feed
Taken from Lara Miller's Instagram feed
Federico Taddia

TURIN — Lara Miller, a 33-year-old Australian, has responded to the unexpected diagnosis of going blind with the singular objective to see, photograph and share as much of the world as possible before losing her sight altogether.

"I'm losing my sight and can't do anything about it," she says. "But I feel that I'm seeing everything that matters."

This adventure began on her 19th birthday, when she was diagnosed with Retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative and genetic ocular disease. "It means that I will slowly lose my peripheral vision, as if I am looking through a telescope — like the light at the end of a tunnel where only the details in the middle are focused," she says. "My eyes are also very sensitive to light, so I rarely take photos in the sun. I love cloudy days."

Miller's first reaction to the disease was accepting the new reality, facing head on the profound changes in her everyday life. Then a holiday in Bali, a gift from her uncle, inspired her. "The awareness of my future loss of sight became a driving force for me to see the world," she recalls. "I want to do as much as possible before I can't anymore. I know what awaits me, but I won't sit here and wait for it."

Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the countries she has visited so far. Next on the list are Tasmania, Alaska, Japan, Finland and Cambodia. Always hand-in-hand with her husband and accompanied by a camera, she posts the images from her travels on Instagram (@lovewalkeatsee), where she has nearly 115,000 followers.

"For me, taking pictures means preserving things and having the chance to see the incredible scenes and details that seem distant and blurred to me," she says. "My eyes are always changing. There are good days and not so good days, days when I suffer and days when I don't. I try to adapt to these changes. Sometimes I have to find a different way of taking certain shots, and sometimes I have to avoid strong lighting. The changes influence how I take the photos."

She never thinks about her future in the dark, noting that she faces the prospect without sadness. "When I travel, I feel courageous, resourceful and uninhibited," she says. "I was a little sad when I was in Iceland and I couldn't fully take in the Northern Lights. I was there in the dark, holding the tripod that my husband placed to capture the phenomenon. I listened to the others who were moving in black on top of that mountain and I experienced a moment of deep pain and sorrow. But I learned to work on myself and look past these moments of bitterness."

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What's Spoiling The Kids: The Big Tech v. Bad Parenting Debate

Without an extended family network, modern parents have sought to raise happy kids in a "hostile" world. It's a tall order, when youngsters absorb the fears (and devices) around them like a sponge.

Image of a kid wearing a blue striped sweater, using an ipad.

Children exposed to technology at a very young age are prominent today.

Julián de Zubiría Samper


BOGOTÁ — A 2021 report from the United States (the Youth Risk Behavior Survey) found that 42% of the country's high-school students persistently felt sad and 22% had thought about suicide. In other words, almost half of the country's young people are living in despair and a fifth of them have thought about killing themselves.

Such chilling figures are unprecedented in history. Many have suggested that this might be the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but sadly, we can see depression has deeper causes, and the pandemic merely illustrated its complexity.

I have written before on possible links between severe depression and the time young people spend on social media. But this is just one aspect of the problem. Today, young people suffer frequent and intense emotional crises, and not just for all the hours spent staring at a screen. Another, possibly more important cause may lie in changes to the family composition and authority patterns at home.

Firstly: Families today have fewer members, who communicate less among themselves.

Young people marry at a later age, have fewer children and many opt for personal projects and pets instead of having children. Families are more diverse and flexible. In many countries, the number of children per woman is close to or less than one (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong among others).

In Colombia, women have on average 1.9 children, compared to 7.6 in 1970. Worldwide, women aged 15 to 49 years have on average 2.4 children, or half the average figure for 1970. The changes are much more pronounced in cities and among middle and upper-income groups.

Of further concern today is the decline in communication time at home, notably between parents and children. This is difficult to quantify, but reasons may include fewer household members, pervasive use of screens, mothers going to work, microwave ovens that have eliminated family cooking and meals and, thanks to new technologies, an increase in time spent on work, even at home. Our society is addicted to work and devotes little time to minors.

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