I’ve always believed that travelers are inherently different from tourists.
Tourists search for something clear and physical, something they can see or experience and keep it in their minds and hearts, something they can cross off a guidebook or have previously researched on Wikipedia. Travelers, I think, are searching for themselves, piece by piece, city by city, until they can fully define themselves, as Socrates once said, as “citizens of the world”. A traveler at heart isn’t of this or that nationality; a traveler comes from a country, and breathes all the places he or she visits.
I don’t look for monuments. I don’t pose in front of things so I can later cram the pictures into an album or post them on Facebook and ‘tag’ myself in them. I look for narrow streets, hidden cafés with yelling waiters, small churches and chapels, old, dilapidated houses and balconies overflowing with plants. I look for the life and loves of the places I visit; I want to understand how cities and villages work and move and breathe. I want to lose myself, yet always know exactly where I am, and, hopefully, find a little bit of my soul in every place I visit.
Travelling is, for some, a hobby, and for others a way of life. Friends and family have told me, in both scolding and complimenting tones, that I cannot stay still in one place for more than three weeks. It’s very true. I love water. The presence of water, the sound of moving water, soothes me and makes me feel at home wherever I am – maybe that’s because I identify with water, flowing water, running river rapids and vast oceans that spread out into the horizon. The sound of water tells me that there is movement, that things are not still, that the world is still out there, waiting to be discovered. A living, breathing, evolving infinity of unknown places with stories to tell.
I want to discover the world and, piece by piece, discover myself; what mix and match of cities and villages and mountains I am really, truly, made of.
These are a few samples of photographs I’ve taken of the places I’ve visited in the past few years since I started experimenting with analog/film photography. I’ve lost many digital accounts of amazing places like several Greek isles and a month-long trip through Egypt.
But you know what? I’m not that upset about it. An image may tell a thousand words, but the memories you keep are so much more important, because you can’t show them to anyone, print them or post them online – they are yours to keep forever, only yours, and its the puzzle made up of those memories that will constantly shape you into the human being you are meant to be.