With the rise of apps like VSCO Cam and Instagram, everyone has become a photographer. We have all learned how to take a picture: the best way to angle the camera, the most rewarding filters, and even how to play with light. But just because we have all taken stunning pictures, doesn’t mean the world’s population has mastered the task of capturing the picture.
That is the difference between us and the explorers and adventurers that work for the top travel magazines. Their experiences have fostered their ability to seal several angles and components of reality into a single frame, at once delivering a clean, clear view of distinction while also providing multiple perspectives for interpretation. This is why I travel.
My wanderlust has stemmed from my curiosity and passion for the human experience. Maybe my Libra sign should be a testament to my core desire to find new vantage points; although I hardly think my astrological sign should be taken too much to heart. When I was younger, I would constantly become frustrated with my indecisiveness. Why couldn’t I just pick a viewpoint and stick with it? Why did I instead have to agree with everyone? I saw myself as lazy and rather unwilling to commit.
As I grew older, I began to see that I had a gift. This blessing was really my ticket to empathize with the world: to capture the feelings, the sights, the hidden and the displayed, the sounds, the people. I was able to analyze and then analyze again. Like the spin of a globe, I was able to take a frame in my mind and spin it in a variety of directions. My annoyance with myself began to fade, but with each passing day, I began to feel solemn over the fact that those around me never tried to see things the way I did. They never tried to examine the whole from multiple perspectives.
I think a large part of this was due to comfort in the familiar but moreover, they simply had never been taught how. This concept was never introduced to them because the world we live in, despite the thrust of globalization, has remained rather isolated. We travel more, we document more, but we connect less.
Before long, our travels merely become “milestones” in our life, something we photograph and then store away. Our destination becomes “that” place where the “other” lives. Where backwards living was fun for a week but could never actually lead to a sustainable life of fulfillment. But someone somewhere on the globe lives that life. Choice, coincidence, or both have sustained a community of people who live in those 1×1 photographs.
Henry Miller once wrote, “One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” (Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch) This is where I strive to be one day, a skill that will take my entire life to perfect. I don’t know exactly where my career will take me, but I know that it will involve bringing perspective to others, either through words, images, or interaction.
Wanderlust isn’t restlessness, adventure, or even lack of commitment. In fact, I could argue that not all who travel are restless; not all who travel find adventure; and every steadfast traveler has a deep commitment to that way of life. Wanderlust to me is about seeing, re-seeing, and then realizing that you haven’t seen the whole story. At the center of this story is the beauty of human life as it adapts, evolves, and continues. So too, my wanderlust will continue because the images on my camera might come to a white border trim, but they never actually stop. With a mere change of the angle or the slightest twist in the body, what was hidden in the margins now comes into focus.