JUBER AHMED | JANUARY 18 2019
You don’t have to be a traveller or a writer to read this post.
Having travelled a fair bit around the world without having written much about my travels, I had an epiphany and realised it was about time.
So much happens when you’re travelling and there are so many events and moments we tend to forget about. All because it was not recorded. This was happening with me on my trips. I didn’t know it, but it bothered me quite a lot when I would return from a journey. Failing to recollect what happened and what made the trip an experience to remember, it was about time I did something to change this. I therefore intended through this blog to keep not only a journal of my travels, but also to share what I have seen, heard, experienced and tasted from around the world. In addition to that I wanted to exclusively share my thoughts about travelling through articles and blog posts.
Life has taught me that we often live through some fine moments, which we’d like to remember if we had the chance, but these moments are forgotten and never referred to. Why? Because there is no record of it. We may remember some major moments but its the minor moments that are difficult to remember. Both major and minor moments combined is what makes life a lot more interesting. We tend to remember the big moments such as passing a test, or getting married and having children. However, I’ve seen that if you contemplate a little you will find moments in your life that may have been categorised as minor, but remembering them not only brings pleasure to the mind, but also has a positive effect on your mood and behaviour and also allows you to influence others because of this positivity. Unless you have a superb memory, writing helps you to achieve this.
Michael Foley talks about how people have become in the 21st century. He terms the age we are living in as ‘the age of absurdity’ and asserts that as humans, we often fail to embrace the ordinary and only tend to live for the bigger events in life. His book is written to basically encourage us to look between the lines of life.
For me, as a traveller, its about the short taxi rides I take, the conversations that I have with people when I land, the expressions of relationships, seeing people depart and arrive at the airport, using the bus instead of a taxi to get somewhere, having a light conversation with the man who sells coconuts from across your hotel and human emotions I experience on my journey. Its about remembering those fine little moments which come together to cultivate and enrich the experience of my trip.
It is for this reason that I intended when starting this blog in November 2018, to start writing as much as I can; the good, the bad and the ugly as well as the best experiences I had when travelling! Just like life, travel entails within it a mixture of these things!
I went on my first trip when I was seven years old. My entire family including my parents and five siblings travelled all the way from the UK to Bangladesh. I don’t remember many things from that trip and I wish I had written about my experiences (or even taken some photos) as we did not have camera phones or even cameras at that time. Since then I have always wanted to repeat that process of booking, packing and jetting off to another place with foreign cultures, foods, people and environments. But I knew something was missing. Travelling did not feel wholesome yet. It was only after I got married at twenty-three and started travelling with my wife that I became a more conscious traveller. Becoming more conscious has resulted in me writing; something I will talk about in another post.
When I first started to travel, I never even thought of writing. After some conversations with my sister, I drew up some courage to keep a journal and take notes on my trip to India in December 2018. Wow! It was a remarkable experience! I was writing everyday! Not only that, but I felt words were simply and naturally flowing from my pen onto paper. I realised at that time, that we are all writers in some way or another; some of us know it and some of us don’t – it’s just about finding what your passionate about. I thoroughly enjoyed writing about the finer details of India as well as the major sites and events. When you truly find what your passionate about, writing becomes a natural and straightforward process. Writing then comes from the heart and mind and is then read by others, consequently influencing the hearts of others.
Experiences you write about does not have to include special effects, superheroes and characters; the best experiences and stories are those that are simple and easy to relate to. If these experiences are captured by us, they can be used for many purposes such as story-telling, blogging, giving advice, teaching life lessons and motivating others. I therefore decided whilst in India that I would try my very best to capture and record what I perceive to be the minutest of experiences as well as the bigger, more easily remembered experiences.
Our memories of the past can bring pleasure as well as regret, though we usually prefer to have pleasurable memories. An ideal way of doing that is by putting pen to paper (or typing).
Writing VS Taking a Picture
You cannot take a picture of experiences.
I find it intriguing how I can take out my phone everytime I feel something is worth remembering. I do this with the powerful technological tool I have in my pocket, because I feel what is behind the lens of the camera, is worth recording and deserves a second glance. I intend to go back home, sit on my comfortable sofa and flick through to reminisce about that experience.
Taking it a step further, I won’t just keep the photos or videos to myself but will share it with others hoping that they can experience the same.
What I’m not realising though, is that the picture or video is limited to the many pixels I or others see on the screen. That’s all we see. No explanation, no context, no description. Of course videos and pictures have a very powerful and effective way of explaining something but put it alongside some writing and you’ll see some results. For the one taking the photo or video, we can go as far as associating a context, sound and experience. The picture tells you what you see and can limit you thinking about the experience. Now try this – write something similar to a short passage, around 40-60 words alongside this picture and make sure its something unique to you. Something that moved you or made you feel that this picture was worth taking. You will now start to not only move yourself but also others through a dimension which may not have been possible had you shared it without some writing.
Frazier’s quote above on the matter makes me realise that the same cannot be done with pictures and videos. Historically writing has been, still is (to a certain degree) and will always be our main technology for communication and dissemination.
Through writing about my experiences of travelling, I’ve allowed myself to think and read between the lines. I’ve allowed myself to remember the details of the journey better, so that others, including myself, can benefit. I’ve allowed myself to stay sane and organise the chaos around me and in my mind. Writing has allowed me to zoom into the picture and take a closer look at what was going on. This has helped expand the power and potential of my brain to imagine and picture a memory like no other. For that reason, I believe, sitting, imagining & daydreaming through writing and reading is a lot more effective than solely taking photos and videos and then viewing them.
If you want to start writing, then I’ll give you a tip. Start writing intentionally. It’s as simple as that. Don’t just write, but know why you are writing. Have an aim, objective and purpose. Start off by keeping a journal of what you do throughout the day, week or month. Explore what interests you and write about it. Create a blog. Its completely free. Go to wordpress.com to begin. Just stick with it as and when you can.
For more tips on writing, click here. I’ve used this website myself and have found it very useful. The core thing to remember in my opinion is what Michael Foley mentions, ‘write for others and you’ll benefit no one; write for yourself and you’ll benefit many‘.
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