Ten years ago my camera was stolen and until this winter, I didn’t replace it. A camera is nice to have for blogging but for traveling and on the trail I find it too heavy and I think it encourages a person to objectify their experiences. Without a camera, when great sunsets are happening, you don’t think, “this will make a good picture,” you just sit back and enjoy it thoroughly.

On a trek in a jungle in Sumatra, a mother orangutan came down a tree with her baby wrapped around her, the guide gave me a banana as I was the only one without a camera in my hands, I handed the orangutan the banana, looked into her eyes and touched her hand. Over and over, I see people missing experiences by trying to capture them.

Five years ago, when I sold my house, I needed to get rid of all of my stuff. I looked through all the pictures I had, took out the ones of my son, sent them to him, and threw away the rest. Life is about now and you can never be in the now if you have to cart the past around with you.

My travels and hikes are not diminished by not having pictures; I think they are enhanced because not having a camera frees me up for experiencing the moment instead of trying to preserve it. In addition, my life is enhanced by not having to store bunches of pictures of the past.

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Hermit, long distance hiker, primitive cabin dweller, seeker.

3 thoughts on “Pictures.”

  1. Photos are a kind of addiction and a security blanket for me. I agree with your post, but they are hard words to swallow. Especially as my memories fade it’s supremely difficult not to cling to my photos and pursue new ones.

  2. although in this circumstance – it might have been better to have a camera because you are not supposed to have close contact with orangutans or feed them in the forest. Orangutans are so similar to us that they can be infected by many of our own illnesses, often suffering far worse… especially babies. The guide should have told you this, and it is not your fault. I just thought that I should post this comment in case anyone else thought they’d like to do the same thing. Take photos of orangutans, but try and stay 10 metres away from them unless you have already been in the country for at least 10 days, have been screened for various illnesses and have come back negative on all these tests. Never go near apes if you have (or are recovering from) a cold, flu, cold sores, etc. (Cold sores can kill gibbons, and are more of a risk to them than hepatitis!). And tell the guides that you don’t want them to feed apes in the forest – in the case of rehabilitation, this can be a big backward step on an orangutan’s move into the forest life after captivity.

  3. Yes, you are right, you are not supposed to feed orangutans or any animal. I thought about putting it in the article but it wasn’t the point that I was trying to make. Thanks for putting it in.

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