For the second year in a row, my sisters and I have taken a sisters trip. Our mother and aunts have done so for years, and we have been giddy to be old enough to start the tradition ourselves. Laura just graduated from undergrad, Caroline just finished her first year at Teach for America, and I made it through my first year living in New York City.
What better way to celebrate than to take our annual sisters trip overseas to Paris and Ireland?
As a full time photographer and lifestyle blogger, much of my days are spent on the computer, social media, editing, and living with my camera in tow. With the weeks leading up to the trip it was back to back (to back) shoots, meetings, endless emails, and it seemed as though there was always “a shot to get” for social media. Always, always was I doing at least three things at once. To say I was heading towards burnout is putting it lightly. My mind felt muddied and overwhelmed. My priorities were out of whack and my soul was undernourished.
After much debate with myself, I decided that I was not going to take my camera with me, and that this trip would be a social media free and work free holiday. For those of you visual artists out there, you’ll understand the magnitude of what this meant for me. It was no easy thing. Instead, I chose to bring an old Nikon Film 35 mm camera, seven roles of film, and decided to allow myself up to ten square iPhone pics a day and that’s it. My soul was eager for the break. My mind was up for the challenge.
The trip began and almost instantaneously when I shut the phone off, my soul took a huge sigh of relief. What transpired was a space of presence. I wasn’t worried about “catching that frame” for social media, or obsessing with my camera settings to “nail” the shot. I was present and the craziest thing happened. I became at such peace. I didn’t realize just how much my life was wrapped around getting the shot until I gave myself permission to not get the shot — to just, be.
Instead of doing, I was being.
Instead of looking to create a manufactured moment, I was living real life in the moment. My senses were alive to the smell of street crepes, the taste of salted carmel ice cream, the touch of the slightly itchy grass beneath us as we picnicked at sunset at the Eiffel Tower, the sight of rows and rows of Gardens at Versailles. My heart enraptured in beautiful conversations with my sisters, and with it life unfolded all around me. The tightness in my chest and the stress from my day to day life disappeared the moment my phone was shut off.
Instead of looking to create a manufactured moment, I was living real life in the moment.
Without my camera or phone as a constant companion, I became present to the world around me. I didn’t realize how much my head was down and disconnected throughout my day to day life.
Yes, I brought my film camera and got some beautiful shots, but they’re not perfect. In fact, from a technical standpoint they’re riddled with mistakes.
But, I see such beauty in the imperfections.
Once I gave myself permission to be completely present in the moment at hand, my soul could breathe. A soul at rest is a soul that can truly create. I wonder how much more beauty we could actually create in this world if we all stood back, put our phones down, and looked upon the the world around us teaming with life, spontaneity, beauty, and adventure.
My thought is that it could be life changing.
What are some of your most favorite travel moments that weren’t caught on film?