When we feature a new trip on Everlater, I end up looking through hundreds of new travel photos. Lately though, I've begun to notice how many of these epic trips have passed through locations that I've already been to. It brings a smile to my face at first, but then I wonder - are we all just going to the same places?
My dad just returned from Hawaii and he beamed proudly at the incredible sights he had seen and photographed. They were indeed incredible - I had seen them for myself 10 years ago.
I can very clearly remember standing in complete silence out in the middle of the worlds largest salt flats while in Bolivia 2 years ago. It was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. Totally barren, and the only moment of my entirely life devoid of sound.
Why does seeing photos of other people traveling there seem to cheapen my own memories? Because I want to believe that moment was something special - something that only I experienced.
I just spent an hour flipping through every printed photo I've ever taken, and was struck by how many of them were totally meaningless. Some beautiful sunset. A meandering river. Distant hazy mountains. I didn't have a clue where most of them were taken. Standing there at that moment I was certain I would not remember the beautiful vista - nor be able to adequately describe it a week later to the people I cared about who weren't there to experience it with me. I'd leave the people out of the shot to preserve the pristine wilderness.
Years later, I find myself throwing most of them away. Instead of just capturing what my eyes see, I've resolved to take photographs that will trigger the feeling of the moment - even years after it has passed. A photo means nothing if you can't remember why you were there, who you were with, or what it felt like.