Jacqui is now free to roam the world
The world we live on seems to be getting smaller every day. Back in the day, ships could take us across the ocean in a matter of months. Then, planes could take us around the world in a matter of hours. Now, can instantly speak to anyone on the globe that has internet. Soon we’ll be able to be with them virtually with the assistance of 360 degree cameras and virtual reality headsets.
Travel is easier and cheaper than ever, but the development of technology that allows you to be in other parts of the world without leaving home will be a huge help to those who find themselves unable to go very far. One group that is greatly benefitting from technology like Google Maps Street View is people who suffer from agoraphobia.
Jacqui Kenny is a New Zealander living in London, but she finds it extremely difficult to travel great distances like that now. She explained in a Google blog, “For over 20 years I have lived with severe anxiety, and eight years ago I was diagnosed with agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations where you might feel panicked, trapped, helpless or embarrassed.”
She didn’t always feel a crippling fear when leaving her home. Her phobia became a life-changing problem as her stress about other life events grew. “Almost two years ago, after closing down a decade-old business I had co-founded, I lost confidence in myself, and my agoraphobia worsened. I wasn’t ready to face the world, but I knew I needed a creative outlet to help keep the negative thoughts away,” she continued.
Jacqui was on the internet one day and realized that she could visit almost anywhere in the world through her laptop. She wasn’t joining international chat groups or exploring foreign websites, though. She was virtually walking around the Earth with an app that most people take for granted. She said:
“As I clicked through Google Maps, I left my London home and navigated the streets of faraway countries like Mongolia, Senegal, and Chile. I encountered remote towns and dusty landscapes, vibrant architectural gems, and anonymous people, all frozen in time. The more I traveled, the more I found scenes that appeared to be plucked from a strange and expansive parallel universe. What began as a hobby quickly became a pursuit of the hidden, magical realms of Street View.”
Jacqui was so enraptured by her explorations that she captured her most special moments by screen-shotting interesting places she saw in Kyrgyzstan, Canada, Chile, Mongolia, and many more. Her stunning photos show wild animals roaming, unique architecture, lonely roads, and other remote places that most will never see in person.
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Her screenshots are described as “beautiful and emotional,” and she puts them on Instagram for others to marvel at. She found that her pictures helped open up the world to other suffering from the debilitating phobia. It also helped her to conquer her fear. She got on a plane and took a trans-Atlantic flight.
“I was offered the opportunity to have a solo exhibition in New York, NY. The Agoraphobic Traveller exhibition showcases a series of my favorite images, as well as a series of 360 experiences that help explain my process. On opening night, hundreds of people turned up to show their support, many from my Instagram community. It was a night I’ll never forget.”
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