I haven’t taken a single picture this week, Nepal just feels like a secret better kept, a secret better seen for yourself. I don’t want to show a reflection or shadow of what I’ve experienced here. I don’t want to give a false impression or afford anyone the comfort of believing they have seen Nepal without being here. It isn’t fair to the dirt swirling in the streets or the dingy restaurant I had lunch in. Yes my words or pictures might inspire some kind of desire to see for yourself but how do I reconcile the possibility that you might think you know what its like. That would be a shame.
Imagine, dream and gaze into the distance but don’t expect your imagination to give you a visceral experience. Sometimes you have to choke on the dust with your own lungs. Sometimes the pretty picture is hiding the sweat given for its sake.
On my first trip abroad I had no camera other than on my phone and because of that I have a handful of pictures. I believed in the power of experience and for me at the time trying to capture the experience was a great way to avoid a deep experience. Trying to hold onto something seemed like a way to escape going deeper. I didn’t want anything between my eyes and the world. But everything is an experience, it only matters what I’m choosing to experience. Do I want to experience taking a picture or simply seeing the scene. One might be more effortlessly remembered and one might fade as it loses importance to me. Right now I’m choosing to be without pictures because it affords me a different motivation in my last few days in Asia before heading to Denmark. It gives me a sense of impermanence and shows simply that each experience is for its own sake. I’m eating each meal knowing that its my attempt at the best meal for me at the time, its not to be remembered or to add a check mark to some bucket list. Its just what sounds good at the time.
Its important to try this tactic because of how hard it has become for me to notice my feelings. I know in my mind that this is an odd time in a trip, not heading home but heading into such a different part of the world. I feel numb, not in a terrible way. Its just hard to feel fully excited, nervous or content. I think I am able to feel so many different ways about this portion of my trip that it has become hard to choose. So I don’t want to focus on capturing what I’m feeling, I want to focus on feeling it. I want to be aware of my internal workings in this crucial time. Just a little more writing, a little fewer pictures and a slower walking pace.