This blog began in 2009 and has grown sporadically with thoughts about masculism and accounts of travels. In 2016 my sons and I drove to a monastery in the pyrenees, and I hope one day my daughter will want to travel together: “Something about boys and girls”.
Whilst I think masculism and feminism have different agendas which merit their own space, and sexual equality has yet a very long way to go, I believe (perhaps naively) that gender, along with colour, faith, ability and political persuasion, should be cause for creativity and celebration, rather than division, inequality and conflict. Vive la difference, it only goes to make things more interesting.
Someone in China once encouraged every traveller with: “Don’t be afraid of moving slowly, be frightened only of standing still”. I was 19 when I first set out from the UK, hitchhiking through France, Spain and around Morocco. Back then I was a purist, more traveller than tourist, taking little more than a rucksack, blanket, and drumsticks. No camera to capture the experience, or shoes to interpret the road. But the memories have dulled and depleted over the years.
In the film Blade Runner, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) laments how all his experience will be lost when he dies, but perhaps it’s their very impermanence that makes memories all the more precious and personal. The tension of Roy’s final speech isn’t broken by him rifling through a box of old photos or scrolling through the camera roll on his phone, just as Deckard (Harrison Ford) isn’t distracted by keeping the rain off his camera lens. The scene’s poignant because Roy’s final act is generous: saving Deckard’s life (albeit to have an audience). Though we often capture and share memories, their significance is as transient as we are. Maybe allowing them to pass celebrates that impermanence and makes them all the more precious and meaningful.
Digital mementos will likely survive on discs and servers far into the future, unlike those from the analogue age. Our experience frozen in ones and zeros: thoughts and observations, formed in the mind, mediated through the senses, captured in words and pictures, caught on the Web.
Though much has changed over the 33 years since that first trip, I still believe in the pre-eminence of experience. However, just as a young wine matures into a more interesting vintage, I also better appreciate how experience is improved by being fashioned into narrative and illustrated. These days I travel with two cameras.
For those here now and those to come, bon voyage and best wishes for your stories.