They say time travelling is impossible. Perhaps. If you want to go and have a chat to Marcus Aurelius about his reflections, you may not get lucky any time soon, if ever. But if you want to relive some of the more special moments of the past year, or even years, look at the images on your mobile phone.
I am currently in the middle of nowhere. The next village is six kilometres away. I just had dinner made for me. Spaghetti and a delicious vegetarian tomato sauce with fresh ingredients, with homemade chocolate pudding for dessert. Yes, I know, I am lucky.
Somehow, I always am.
Whilst eating by myself, my host (the owner of the hostel in the middle of nowhere) was working on his computer and occasionally explaining the music that was playing, much of it Argentinean. There were some great melodies in there and I quite enjoyed the music. He was pleased with that. He was also pleased with the fact that I very much enjoyed his cooking.
In between eating and listening to him, I looked at the images on my cell phone. I wanted to go through them and delete a few random ones that I just took for reference. But then I found myself going further and further back… in time as it turned out.
It started with the road ahead, the one I travelled on today. It was a beautiful ride on the bus towards the Andes from Mendoza. Then a little back to Salar de Uyuni. I took some random, more touristy shots, just so I would have them on my phone as a reminder. Then I went further back along my trip through Peru thus far. Not every stop is on my phone; mostly I do photograph with my DSLR. But every now and then I pull my cell phone out and snap away.
And all of a sudden I’m back in London, on my last day at work, celebrating with colleagues, team mates and friends. And then I’m realizing that I miss these people; also realizing that it marked the end of another chapter in the book of my life.
I always go all out, don’t I? I never just move houses. I have to fly at least half way around the world for it to count.
So here I am, sitting in a quiet place, one that I need to be in right now, flipping through city trips from the first half of this year (Berlin, Rostock, Edinburgh, Vienna), going back through summer, spring, winter, Christmas, finding myself on Pere Lachaise in Paris, at dinner in Athens with my old team, on the rooftop of the Angel Building, with family in Salisbury. It’s all there, stored on my phone. Countless memories. And countless views of the sunset across the Thames.
It’s not a great phone and it doesn’t have a great camera, but some of the images are stunning, others just precious, many just glimpses of moments, and quite a few noisy ones, of poor quality. But when you look at the images of the people you chose to spend your time with, for better or worse sometimes, you realize that, surprisingly, there is a lot of affection, perhaps love, for them.
Even if I never saw any of them again, any of the many people I have met during this last chapter, namely my time in London, I would still continue to carry love for them in my heart and these images remind me where it comes from.
We travel forward through time accompanied by those we choose to share our path with. And it is always a choice, because you can walk away, if you don’t like it. That is the inevitable type of time travel we continue every day.
But with the help of those random images we take with our phones, we get to travel back through time every now and then as well. I don’t find myself often going through those images. Today I seem to have been in the right mood: happy in myself, content with where I am at, perhaps a little nostalgic.
So I took this little journey and found myself smiling along the way, filled with a great deal of affection and love and, more than anything, gratitude.
Try it some time. You may be surprised at what you will find.