It’s been weird lately.
I was back in Colorado for a relatively long time this year, having left China in early May and been back there after the Icelandic Adventure for a month. In that time, I developed some sort of fixation on the suburban US. I got envious of those who are buying houses. Having babies. Living in more than 200 sq. ft. Not working their arses off in a kindergarten.
But then, I’m sure the Facebook distortion is strong.
Like when we were in India, and the pictures cut out the 90% that was shitty (sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively), only showing the 10% that is amazing and beautiful. Cut out the massive trash pile. Display the temple next to it.
Still. It’s difficult not to feel somehow different. I know, I know. I chose this travelling life and I choose it again each day. But it is a testament to the difficulty and exhaustion of my current life that I am looking at the places I have escaped with nostalgia. China. I watched a video of Shanghai with nostalgia today, even though I really didn’t care for living there! Suburban Louisville. Even India, god damn it. What is wrong with me?
But this wall. This wall is my treasure. When I was growing up, we memorised the Bible verse:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
I don’t believe in storing up treasures in Heaven nor on Earth. I believe in storing up treasures of the Earth. Memories. Feelings. Photographs. Thieves cannot break in and steal memories. Vermin cannot destroy experiences.
When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer. I bought rolls and rolls of film (yes, it was still the film era) and paid with pocket money to have the negatives developed. I learned dark room techniques. I burned and dodged. I metered. I changed hundreds of rolls of film in complete darkness, locked inside a closet in Monarch High School and with a black cloth over my hands. Closing my lids to the darkness, making it seem less like an absence of light and more like a conscious choice.
And I created a wall of photos in my bedroom. As I have now, in Busan. In 2016.
It’s long gone, and I don’t actually remember where the photographs went. I remember the longing, at 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 years old….longing for a broad and beautiful life.
My new wall is proof that I now have one.