and other changes that have happened in the past five years.
I was waiting a long, long time to do this, to save up money and break free of routine, to start traveling again and finally be that person I so longed to be – some freespirited bohemian on a grand adventure – and it turned out, I don’t think that I can. Simply too much has changed between the way I traveled at 23 and the way I travel (and am) at 28.
For one, I’ve stopped taking photos. I don’t know why, as I just bought a 50mm Nikkor lens. It’s not such a loss. It took years for it to hit me, but I look at my old photos from the Europe trip and lament; there were no people! Were I to do it all again, I’d take photos of almost nothing but the people I met. In fact, I can even say with absolute certainty that every photo I have with people is interesting. I don’t know why I was so obsessed with buildings. Buildings and static would now be life and motion, were I to ever start again.
Much of my disinterest in taking photos is probably attributable to the oversaturation of ‘amazing’ travel photos across the internet, and I put amazing in quotations not because they’re not amazing sights and scenes, but because there are so many of them, they have collectively driven down the worth of a single one. They’ve been churned out for our consumption and we can only consume so much before we can no longer see them but break them down into their elements and see all their tricks.
For another, I think a lot more now than I did then. In fact, this side of my personality – and perhaps even some adjoining certainty – has become a much more pronounced trait in the past five years. I don’t think I can fall in love with things and situations – that is, become enamored of – like I did then. I believe my love affairs with ‘cobblestone’ and ‘everything new’ have cooled.
But I suppose it’s not all bad. Where before I went to some monuments and sights, I have zero interest in that now. Now the only things that interest me are walking around and seeing how people live in the present day. Though I think much more about historical context now than I did at 23, I am also getting more okay with lacking historical context of the brick path I’m walking on, because it seems most people lack that as well. I’m not sure in the grand scheme of things, or presently, it’s important, or more important than the way things are now and where they are heading.
I suppose I’m also more interested in the specific than in the general. In interesting projects and different ways of living. In not fronts but what is happening under them. In things that can only be accessed with a guide and with time. I wouldn’t stay in party hostels again. Small hostels that are like family – definitely. Hotels – never, unless there was some group of people I liked. But more than that I would do WWOOF or helpx. I’d cycle or sail. I’d sleep in my car. I’d sleep in a tent. I’d get a laptop with a longer battery life. I’d use solar. I’d think about it all much more, especially what is worth my time.
We all know that’s our most precious and limited resource. And the more of it passes, the more apathetic we can get. What I want most is freedom and time. To think, to write, to explore. That does not involve constant travel, which can even be the enemy of that goal. But it does involve some.
So without further ado, travels part 2….