Mike and I were talking last night about some upcoming trips that we have in the works, and it lead to a discussion about travel in general, and the things we like to do when we go and visit places. He said that he likes to see the sights and sample the local cuisine. However, he has to be careful, because he will try to cram too much in to one day, and in the end it just stresses him out, so the idea of traveling as a tourist doesn’t appeal to him.
I don’t travel like that. I’m a very laid back traveler, as I’m sure Jennifer can verify for me. I just want to be there – wherever there may be – soaking up the local feel and rhythm. Sure, there are specific sites I must see – like the Old North Church in Boston last summer. But if I miss something, that’s ok. If I feel rushed, I slow down. I’m on vacation, I have all the time in the world.
And of course, I have my camera with me.
My camera is my best friend when I’m traveling. In some ways it’s like my shield, protecting me from the strangeness around me. Nothing looks strange through my viewfinder. If I’m alone, it’s ok, I have my camera. I can always take pictures. It makes it easier to ignore the strangers around me, as the introvert in me comes out and I don’t want to have to deal with them. If I’m with friends, it inspires me to point out the interesting things that I see. I must have a camera there – or two, or three.
The summer after my senior year in high school, we went on a family vacation. Our first stop was Minnesota, and I was having a blast doing things with my cousin Renee. Then it came time to head on over to North Dakota – and I didn’t want to go. “I’ll be bored” followed by “there will be nothing to do.” My Mom pointed out to me that everything in life is what you make of it, and if I went there with that attitude, I would be bored. I was making myself miserable. So the first day after we arrived, I took my 35mm SLR camera out and went to take pictures. The park, the lake, Main street. Eventually I saw other kids my age, and they asked what I was doing. We started talking, and before I knew it I was having a great time and meeting new people. My camera helped give me a reason to be out there, to meet them. Sometimes I need that nudge.
As I drove in to work this morning, I realized something. Some people talk about how they see things in HTML. Me? I see the world in pictures. There must have been at least five things that I spotted during my commute that made me wish I had time so I could pull over and take pictures. Signs, colors, buildings, flowers. I analyze everything by the photo I could take of it. After that I think about what I see as a blog post. Is there a story to tell here? What is it? Why is the man sitting there on the corner – does he have a home? What is the history of that old church building? Can I blog about it? What story can I share?
I see the world in photographs and stories. How do you see yours?