You Can Look But Don’t Touch

It’s not so much that you shouldn’t touch them, just that you can’t. These small little snippets of my life that I share, hoping to inspire and invoke jealousy and desire to do the same. I am of course referring to the photos I take, my way of keeping those back home and whom I’ve met along the way who are interested in what I do up to date. But the biggest issue is that you won’t ever see my best photos because they haven’t been taken. When you live in the moment it’s nice to appreciate it rather than record it and get so wrapped up in what you’re doing that something like a semi-casual blog is a second thought. I look at all the guys who run amazing travel blogs and often wonder what they miss out on based on the time they commit. You read posts on how they sit in a hotel at night editing photos, scheduling events and trips and networking new contacts whilst I spend those nights sitting in a hostel, sharing a few drinks with incredible people and writing all my posts on the next train/bus/plane. It is also the reason I have 200 likes on Facebook and they have thousands but c’est la vie.

All the photos I post on Instagram and Facebook I love, but they show places and moments, not experiences. I hope they inspire wanderlust amongst those who see them but the best parts of my trip come in the form of tears of laughter around a rickety little table in a hostel courtyard, idiotic friends who go cliff jumping and throw firecrackers at each other and the sunsets in places that you didn’t expect to be in the week before yet question how it is that you’ll ever be able to leave. I wish I had somebody following me around and taking photos of all these moments, despite how creepy that would be (anyone want to volunteer?) but that is the joy of travel, that each moment, despite how well you may be able to document it is yours only. You can all see photos from mountains I’ve sat atop and trails I’ve ridden but you won’t feel the burn in the legs from getting there; you’ll be able to see the glorious waterfalls and glaciers of Iceland but won’t feel the accomplishment of hiking 27km on a fractured foot; you’ll see photos of glorious cities and stunning architecture but you won’t see the likeminded travellers (quite often hungover) standing beside me and revelling in it with equal awe.

You won’t see me take many selfies while I travel because I don’t want you to see me there, I want you to be able to see yourself there. Let me be your eyes abroad and show you what you’re missing out on. I’m lucky enough that I’ve travelled so much at such a young age and I want people to want what I have. While you’re reading this, there’s a pretty likely chance you’ve spent today working 9-5 or spent the whole day in uni lectures. I spent this morning sharing breakfast with a Czech girl who dreams of being an Emirates air hostess, an Aussie who is as directionless and free as I am and two Californian siblings sharing a trip together before saying goodbye to each other for 12 months. Now I’m sitting on a train heading through the French Alps, admiring some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and it’s only 11am. A selfie won’t capture that, nor would any type of photograph or video. And this is a very common day for me. Next week I’ll spend the whole week hiking, snowboarding and mountain biking because why not? And why shouldn’t you be able to do the same?

As I’ve said in so many of my previous posts, one of the most amazing things about travel is the people you meet. How do I show you these people without taking a profile picture of them and including a full bio of their life? Even then, that doesn’t detail the experiences that we share as we go and the things you learn from each other so a cheeky photo, with idiotic poses or gaping grins is the only glimpse into these friendships that you can have without getting out there and making your own.

I’ve taken thousands of photos on this worldly trip of mine yet the ones I’ll cherish are the ones that aren’t on any SD card or hard drive, they’re the ones that’ll be dug from the recesses of my memory in however many years’ time when I’m speaking with someone and they’ll say “do you remember when…”. Because in those instances, they’re so much more than a photo and whether there is a physical copy or not, you will still struggle to share it with anyone who wasn’t there. And that is the beautiful thing about it, that there is always a story there for anyone who will listen.

About the author: World Ahead, Home Behind

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