Wednesday, 30 October 2013

An ode to travellers

We've all probably considered travelling at some point, or have been productive and lucky enough to have gone already. The whole concept of travelling has evolved into more of an adjective than a verb. What does it mean to "go travelling"?  Why do people need to do it? Why don't they do it? Would you become a better person if you do? That's the hope of most people, I guess. At least it would be my way of looking at it.

It's all about gaining a solid concept of the planet you live on, and more importantly, who you share it with. Practically speaking, a way of learning to cope and handle yourself in potentially difficult or strange scenarios. To come out the other end......well, .....yep, a better person.

But I don't have enough money to travel atm so this isn't really a post about the endless possibilities of going beyond The Front Door.

I'm in love with travellers, the people who brave it, and especially the documentaries they keep. From the day to day mundane, to the thoughtful analysis of self contemplation.

I was recently lent a book, called "Jupiter's Travels", which is a biographical telling of a man's travels over EVERYWHERE, on nothing but his clunky Triumph (motorbike), during the late 70's. This man is Ted Simon (see above pic), who also worked as a journalist for the Sunday Telegraph, but whilst on his journey, kept it personal, and honest. His writing was comforting to read, but also self indulgent, as we all are inside our own minds. He questions and observes, and makes us feel a little less lonely, showing us that we all ponder on the same things deep down.

Apparently Ted has worked on campaigns focusing on encouraging fellow travellers to provide accurate and non politically inclined accounts of what they see and experience, much like what he achieved with his writing. It's this focus that feels inspiring, and right. It leads me onto other, more current said-travellers, and their chosen methods of documentation, which I enjoy.

For example, a daily vlogger, Louis Cole aka FunForLouis (above), who has been travelling with, and without, his family since being a youngun'. The most amazing part of it is, he is constantly working on new charitable projects, if his "draw my life" video is anything to go by. He is one of those free wheeling-slightly mad-loving-caring-take each moment as it comes-take nothing for granted type of people. One of those lifestyles that you wish you could emulate, but know you'd never have the balls to completely take on.

After only having watched his videos recently, I know I haven't got the whole picture. He currently hasn't done much travelling, and you're mostly just exposed to edits of his 'morning' coffee and 5am social hours. However, I love how open these are. It's simple, but every second is precious. He's not wasting anything, and each moment is worth recording. I find it a very brave thing to do to publicly display your life, right down to the minute details, much like how much Ted Simon displayed of his inner thought process.

I admire these people. And I enjoy travelling and living life through their eyes. This includes the tourists from far and wide, who come into my work, or my friends, recounting their experiences over wine. Fyi, the first picture is one my old uni house mate, Ben Manwaring, took whilst he was in Africa. Amazing isn't it. To be fair, he is a photographer, .....but still. This last picture is one my friend, Camilla Gilbey, took whilst in India, the colours man, the colours...

For some reason, and I have no idea why, I find it relaxing. Maybe it's because they've gone through the effort of braving the world, whilst you only have to sit back, listen, and appreciate what they've learnt, without the lesson. Maybe because it's something that's genuinely interesting, and all the more captivating because of the mouth it's coming from, as a first-hand rendition, alive and raw.

I only hope that I will get the opportunity to become a 'better person' some day.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Missed Opportunities, regrets.

You're sitting across the floor from someone taking centre stage in the conversation, most likely during Freshers Week or a mate's house party. They are drastically explaining about some moment or other in their lives where they had done something border-line risque, and border-line 'everyone else has done this'. They sum up by saying they have no regrets, and this is where I'd like to stop the conversation.

I'm sorry, but everyone has regrets. Big time. Everyone.

It's life. The complex monstrosity of emotional twists and turns, happenstance, fate or coincidence. If 'life' were an open book, then heck, things would be a lot less messy! But that's not the point, I suppose.

Small actions and moments that we come across, take us by surprise, whether they are good, or bad, and the ability to deal with these situations is probably reliant on this little thing called experience. Wisdom is age, people. But you don't gain wisdom without making mistakes, I don't think anyway. Some people never learn, but that feeling, 'regret', it's strong, and it's miserable, and it lasts. 

So whilst the person sitting across from you is proudly exclaiming otherwise, I really don't think you can get rid of regret so easily. This is natural though, it's necessary. It's what allows us to take the right path when that same conundrum presents itself to us later on in life. It's what sculpts us into the beings we are now, and will keep changing us as we go through new things. To feel proud of our mishaps is somewhat unnatural, you are only telling people they should make the same mistakes, therefore encouraging a cycle of actions that will struggle to end. 

That negative feeling is what helps us empathise and sympathise. We should be proud of THIS ability, not the cause and effect to get us there.

As oddly vague, benign and subtly depressing as this post is, please let me explain. I recently let myself miss out on an opportunity. Again, vague, but you don't need to know the details. Suffice to say, I probably said the wrong things, or didn't say enough, and am now left feeling like an idiot for not knowing a good thing if it slaps me in the face. Ergo, regret.

In this case, it's no biggy, just a shame. I'm left thinking of ways I could possibly rectify the situation, which is a frustrating past time, if any of you know the feeling.

But I have learnt. Next time will be better. Sort this out, if I can. If I can't, move on.

And that goes for all of you as well.

Photo from Buzzfeed