Image courtesy of Nanakorn Photography © All rights reserved
Back when I worked at the camera shop, (before the digital age) I would go on vacation and have my photos developed the minute I got back. Or I would go to a concert or show and have my pictures developed the same day – usually within an hour. While there is something to be said for instant gratification to keep you in the moment, I found that if I waited a little longer to see those pictures that it was somehow better. By allowing time to pass, it allowed for a different kind of reflection. Now that times have changed and anything can be instantly recorded with a snap of your cell phone camera, it seems as though something has been taken away as much as it has been given to us.
For me, writing really kicked into high gear around 2005. Now I never travel without a journal, but the way I use it while on vacation has changed during that time. I used to sit and try and record every little detail, I would be so descriptive that it began to feel like a chore and more often than not, I’d write for the first day or two and then abandon it – often never finishing my thoughts on the journey.
Nowadays, I think I have found a way to prolong the experience – one that allows for future reflection in much the same way when I would wait to have my photos developed. Rather than try to record every detail, I write general impressions. I take notes. Write down single words or phrases, and I usually do this at the end of the day- a recap of sorts. This helps me to remember the overall experience, but also allows me to come home and further elaborate – sometimes at great length, on what I experienced. I also like the way that creating a little distance for yourself allows your perspective to shift. Back in 1996, I had one of the worst vacations ever – or so I thought at the time. Putting distance between between myself and that experience has led me to see that some very important things happened that weekend – things that literally changed my life. While I didn’t write about the experience at the time, if I would have just sat and ranted about it in a journal, just spewed forth with all of the frustrations I was feeling at the time, I may have dismissed the event and never taken the time to reflect on how good it really was…
If you write when you are on vacation or away from home, what process works best for you?