This year has been full of traveling. I can't think of a year that I have been moving around this much, and there is still more to come. Some of this has been photography related, and the other has been for pleasure alone. What they all have in common has been the opportunity to get out and see more. For that I am truly grateful for the opportunities made available to me. What I have realized, though, is there is something good about breaking free from yourself and your work when you can.
I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of a show I was part of in Budapest earlier this year. Obviously part of that trip was work related, but there was the vacation side of it too. I had never been to Budapest, so I took the opportunity to see what I could and get out and shoot while there. The shooting didn't have more to it than just getting out and staying fresh and staying busy, but I still came away with some good images. Although it was fun and I wouldn't have done it any other way, it was, in many ways, as much a working trip as a vacation. I wouldn't say that a body of work was produced, but my mind was in work mode most of the time. This has become a habit which has its pros and cons, and has been something I tend to do everywhere I go. I made a change, however, that I can't suggest enough, no matter what your field of work is.
This past weekend my dad and I went to New York to ride in the Five Boro Bike Tour. It was the second time for me, the first for him, and it was a wonderful experience. If you like to ride bikes, no matter what your level of experience, I can't suggest it enough. Like every trip, my camera was with me the whole time, but it only came out one day. This isn't because I wasn't seeing anything, or that I just wasn't motivated, I just made a conscious decision to not pull it out.
I had been to New York before and every time had my camera with me. Whether by myself or with someone else, the camera was out and I was always thinking about shooting. This time was different, though. At 70 years old, it was my dad's first time to the city and what I wanted more than anything was for him to have a good time. It was time to put my desire to find tucked away spots to the side and enjoy a vacation with my father. That decision was the best thing I could have done.
Sentimentality aside, I experienced something that I've heard many people, including myself, talk about, but had never really realized personally. I was able to take a break and enjoy my surroundings for what they are. I took a vacation.
I'm again going to note that my mind was still working as a photographer's mind will. I was still looking, seeing, and framing in my head; it's not something you can just turn off. Once you start to see and form your way of seeing, it becomes a constant thing. However, I didn't let it take the wheel as I normally do. I pulled the camera out a few times as we passed things that I just couldn't let pass, but overall I fought the urge to "work". It was a feeling that I didn't even notice until we were on our way back home, but one that I'm now blissfuly conscious of.
In no way am I saying that the other trips I've been on have felt completely like work. I love what I do and that makes it easy for me to do it and derive a great pleasure from it. However, there is the knowledge that I'm also constantly thinking about what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and what I can do with it; all of these things that were washed away by allowing myself to put work aside for a few days.
I'm continually thankful that I have the ability to do what I do. I'm fortunate to be able to go the places I have gone and have enjoyed every one, but I can't express how nice it is to just take a break sometimes. Whether it's a trip out of country or a weekend get away, take time to disconnect and enjoy the moment.
(I hope that none of this came across as being pretentious. I know I'm extremely lucky to have had the opportunities that I have and it is not something I take for granted. A special thanks to my dad for sharing a wonderful weekend I'll never forget. Also, major thanks to my mom for springing my dog from the kennel early! Love you both and thank you for all you do.)