Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Memories; travel

I rarely post to Facebook except for when I'm travelling, when it's a easy way of sending groups of photos with brief comments to let friends and family know what I've been doing and thinking. Recently, I've been quietly delighted by Facebook's 'memories' function that reminds me of posts from the same day and month in previous years. Today, for example, there was a post about a visit I made with my grand-daughter to the Papalote children's museum in Mexico City in 2013. It's not a particularly well-written or insightful post - a very 'common or garden' post - but it did prompt memories that might otherwise slip away.

Another delight has been a recent discovery that the 'memories' function within the photos app of my i-phone creates little slide shows (which they call 'movies' of photos they (who? presumably a knowing algorithm) choose and group in particular ways - by place, date, or related images. These can occasionally be wonderful, using images I'd not have chosen but that work well with others in the series. Again, these little slide shows remind me, delightfully, of my trips and travel.

Among other things, such as the importance of family, these technologically enhanced 'memories' reveal how central the act of travelling has become to my life. Unlike my own children, or, even more, unlike my very well-travelled grand-daughter, the desire to travel came relatively late in my life. I had no desire to make the pilgrimage to the UK that was a rite of passage for so many of my generation and I was already twenty-five when I made my first international trip to visit friends then living in Hong Kong. I don't remember any revelatory moment when I consciously decided that I had a need to travel, but when I reflect on my behaviour I can see that I grasped every opportunity to visit somewhere else that presented itself. Much later in my work life I had what was for me an ideal job that required me to travel to many countries to supervise a university's student exchange programs. Wonderful! I've counted up and have found I've so far visited forty-three UN recognised countries. I'm sure many other people have visited far more. I don't really have a bucket list, or a desire to tick off more countries. I'll just go anywhere, anytime.

Now I've retired I'm still travelling. I visit the Philippines quite frequently to catch up with my son and grandchildren who live there. But, in addition, I'm always planning the next trip to somewhere else. Much of life seems to me to be a trade off of time and money. Now I have time to travel but relatively less money to do so. As I increasingly privilege travel over other ways in which I can spend my limited money I realise that I'm addicted!

So, I'm off at the end of December. This time I'm house-exchanging again as an economic way to finance my travel needs. I'll be in London for January, escaping Sydney's summer and indulging my desire to wear knitted garments. And already I find myself thinking...'France is so close to London' or, 'I've never visited Ireland - that would be interesting'. And who knows? I might even take up blogging again to have a greater store of memories on Facebook and my phone.