I ran into this video a few weeks ago. It’s been sitting open in a tab in my browser ever since. I’ve been planning to write this blog just as long. But I didn’t know what I wanted to say. I’m still not sure that I do.
I’ve been travelling, somewhat hurriedly for a little while now, at least it feels like that. I’ve been working in between, which left little time for my own writing. Now I have a cold, only today feeling well enough to get working and writing again, slowly.
Given that this video uses photography to bring across a point, it struck a particular cord with me, because I’ve been photographing a lot on this journey of mine. But how original are any of these images? Well, they are mine, seen through my lens as only I could do at that particular moment in time. In that they are unique. Some images were worked in post-production to bring out more detail, changing the exposure a little here, enhancing the play of shadows and light there.
But the views I photographed have likely been photographed countless times by others, because many others have walked the same paths. Perhaps they haven’t taken exactly my route, didn’t stand in exactly the same spot, and certainly didn’t have the same cloud formations, unless they stood right behind me on that particular day. But in essence the same images exist not just on my hard drive or in my photo album.
We are all unique. Everyone who has ever lived has been unique. But we are also all the same. It is strange how alone and disconnected we often feel, when there is so much similarity in our lives.
I’m travelling and have met many other travellers on my journey. Some of whom have gone a similar route, some an opposite route. But you always find yourself exchanging experiences and tales, tips and warnings with each other. If you’ve been where somebody else has yet to go, they will ask you about it. You share your unique experience with them and they will then travel on to have their own unique experience, which will still very much resemble the one you have had.
My life is unique, just as I am unique. But when you meet so many like-minded people, other travellers, you find that it’s not as unique as you thought it was. It might only be unique when I’m at home, but not so much on the road.
It’s a strange realization to come to.
And then, of course, as a writer, you wonder if the story you have in mind has not also been told before. Until I read somewhere that life is a constant retelling of the same stories, because we need constant reminding. We forget.
Which means I needn’t worry. If I can’t remember anyone ever telling the same story that I would like to tell, then hopefully nobody else can remember it either and it’s time to tell it again.
I’ve never been here before. I’ve only lived my life until this exact moment, with no idea what the next will bring. Well, perhaps an idea, because I keep on writing one word after the next, but no certainty. Nobody else has lived my life. And maybe it is very similar to the life of another, perhaps even almost identical. But I don’t know that person and will likely never meet them. Perhaps they have lived a hundred years ago or will be born in another hundred.
I only have this one life, as far as I know anyway, and I cannot worry about it being just one of many. It is my one and only.