This blog began in 2009 and has grown sporadically with thoughts about “masculism” and travels. In 2016 my sons and I drove to a monastery in the pyrenees, and I hope that one day my daughter will want to travel together: “Something about boys and girls”. Latterly M has started to post about his travels, and I hope that in a thousand years our words will still be accessible and continued by our descendants. The desire to leave a trace in the sands of time is ancient.
Someone in China once said: “Don’t be afraid of moving slowly, be frightened only of standing still”, and Einstein thought :”Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”, moving can also be addictive.
I was 19 when I first set out from the UK, hitchhiking through France, Spain and around Morocco leaving behind unsuccessful schooling and familial angst. Back then I was a purist, more traveller than tourist, taking little more than a rucksack, blanket, and drumsticks. No camera to capture the journey, or shoes to tread the road. But over the years those memories have depleted and dulled.
In the film Blade Runner, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) laments how his memories will be lost when he dies, but perhaps it’s their very impermanence that makes them all the more precious and human. The tension in 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 lens. No, the scene’s perhaps poignant because Roy’s final act is not only selfless: saving Deckard’s life, but fleeting.
Unlike those images from the analogue age, digital mementos will likely survive far, far into the future, and AI could make them accessible. From now on our experiences, thoughts and perspectives that’ve been framed by the mind, mediated through the senses, instantiated in images, sounds and words, will be frozen in ones and zeros, caught in the web and spun into the matrix. But with their meaning partly anchored within us, partly defined by the viewer, maybe they will continue to be as impermanent as we are.
Though much has changed in the 38 years since that first trip, I still believe experience is pre-eminent; however, just as a young wine matures into a more interesting vintage, I better appreciate how it is enhanced by being fashioned into narrative, edited down, and occasionally Photoshopped. These days I travel with a few cameras.