22 April 2009

Other people's travel photos

Ok. So you're invited by some friends to come over for dinner, and during the evening they whip out the photo album / laptop to show you the photos (all 9000 of them) from their latest trip. At this point, many of us would watch politely for five minutes, yawn, then feign illness requiring hospitalisation in order to effect a rapid exit.

I don't. A few years ago, some friends did a to-die-for trip around Europe with another couple (sans children). It included a few destinations we were familiar with, and much that was completely new to us. The account of their trip, regaled along with the photos was absolutely riveting. We were hooked! At one point, one of our friends did check that they weren't boring us, and we assured them - completely truthfully - that they weren't. At that point, the realisation dawned on all of us that viewing other people's photos and hearing their stories can be just as much a reliving of your own experiences as your own photos are. 

With this couple, we had shared destinations. For another couple, whose trip along the Inca Trail in South America (where we have not been) was fascinating, it was the contrast between our experience and theirs that brought back our memories.

We have thus lived through a wonderful holiday to Estonia, Czech Republic, France, Italy and Austria; a close relative's trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway and around Moscow and St Petersburg; the Inca Trail trip; and another Europe trip done by other friends that included Pompeii (also where we have not been). There are probably many others - but that's just off the top of my head.

I once heard it said that you don't have to own something to enjoy it. I think I'll attribute that to my mother, as she has a small but useful supply of such advice - and it is probable that I did get it from her. By extension, you don't have to have had the holiday to enjoy it. It is possible to enjoy something belonging to someone else.

Far from being boring, I am fascinated by other people's holidays. I love the storytelling and the reminiscence of "crossed paths" where we have also been. I love the opportunity to hear first-hand about new and exotic places that we may not have even considered visiting. And I love the feeling you get when looking at the photos of "I have been there". Even more, I love the feeling of "I know what is just outside the frame of that photo, and where it leads to".

No comments:

Post a Comment