Photos are in general pleasant relics. You are reminded of good times you had, amazing places you visited, times with friends and people you love. I do occasionally enjoy browsing through albums and taking a quick trip down memory lane. Different emotions run through me. I feel embarrassed by weird outfits, bad hair choices, or bad choices in general. You know, photos which if now surfaced on social media, you make you delete your account and never return. But in most cases, I cannot help but feel nostalgic.
There are the photos from my student years when I was different from who I am now. I used to go out and party a lot, meet up with friends, go clubbing, drinking and dancing. With some of these people, I have lost contact. You know, sometimes even though you still like someone, they are no longer a part of your life. And if you relocate to another country, keeping up the friendship is even more challenging. The sad part is that some of them were at that point in time among your closest friends. But I guess if it is not meant to be, it is not meant to be.
Then there are those photos of beautiful places you were lucky enough to visit. And it is peculiar how almost every photo carries a reminder of what now seems like a trivial event of an experience that happened during that trip. You know, things you can laugh about now but did not look so funny back then. For instance, the trip in which I got the bad sunburn on my shoulders, the trip during which I broke my camera and then wandered through an unknown city trying to get it fixed; the trip during which I had a bad fight with someone over something embarrassingly ridiculous; the trip during which I had a wardrobe malfunctioning and as a result everyone of a particularly busy square ended up seeing your underwear (so happy I was not with anyone I know during that one)… Oh, these glorious times!
And then, there is another thing photos can evoke – they remind you of the person you were back then and there, documenting your drives, desires, and hopes. One of the greatest things about travelling is that you learn a lot about yourself (and people you are with). So, sometimes pictures could transfer you magically to these exact moments back in time and remind you how you felt in that moment in time. You inevitably get a reality check and compare where you were with where you are now. Sometimes you can end up missing yourself, as in the person you were back in that moment in time, full of hope, full of optimism, expecting your whole life to be ahead of you and believing things will only get better. When life has proven to you time and time again it will not get better, good things do not need to happen a lot, and you need to work hard and fight for everything that you have, you might end up wishing to go back and having that naïve and full of hopes mind-set. But, at the same time, I would not rather be 18 again when life seemed full of possibilities. Now I know better, I am more moderate in my expectations but value the less pleasant experiences as they have enriched me in a way. Enough so that I can soberly wish for the intact optimism and hopefulness, but without losing my wiser and realistic view over things. Perhaps I should regard photos for what they are – a memorabilia of a different person, in a different place and time. And someone in there, is a part of myself.