Why I Left My Camera at Home



        As a writer and adventurer, traveling incites within me an inspiring love of the Earth I inhabit, as I see and experience what I thought I could only create in my novels. I have been a self-pronounced writer since a young age, and a traveler as well, for I was a student ambassador with the group People to People. Within a three week period I was led across three countries: France, Italy, Greece; in another trip, through four countries: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

 To my parent’s dismay, I purposefully left my camera at home, wanting not to see these new worlds through a camera lens, but to let the sight fill me and change me, rather than become a memory on a screen.

 Am I changed? Certainly.  But do I remember what I saw? Vaguely.

 I have a strong memory of climbing steps up to an open-air festival, filled with traders and dancers, musicians, and crafters. Ribbons were strung from vendors carts, and lights hung twinkling above my head. Foreign languages filled my ears, and a swelling of pride blossomed in my chest.  I have since tried to find this place on Google many times, but as I have forgotten what country I was in, they were failed attempts. Though I do not remember the name of the place, or even the people I was with, I still know the feeling.

 Joy, amazement, a happy confusion. And though this was alien territory for a girl who grew up in a small-town in Alabama, I felt the familiarity of my people and recognized this place as home. Humans are, in all areas of the world, an emotional species. We survive and prosper, or ruin, based on the deep-seeded feelings inside. Anger, pain, love, and sadness are eternal and world-wide phenomenons. Even miles away from home, I felt connected to those around me, strangers I had never seen and never would again, through a universal sharing of what we all feel.

I knew, as I stood amongst the festival, that all around me, just the same as if I was standing in my Wal-Mart back home, were people suffering and enjoying emotions.  It was an experience we can all be aware of, but rarely do we take time to notice, that the things that lead us and destroy us, are the same all over the planet. When we travel we may see and hear things unknown to us, that are new and eye-opening, but never-changing, wherever you go, are people.

  If I had brought my camera, and had taken pictures like my parents’ had so begged me to do, I would have taken home a few pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the steps I climbed, and maybe the smiling face of a young child holding a balloon, but what I actually brought home with me was something I will never forget.

It was an emotion, it was a feeling of belonging. Wherever I go now, I can depend on people, even though they have different experiences and different homes, to feel and be alive in the sense that I recognize. I never have to be alone in a world so full of connections.

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