My dad complains that I don’t write enough about the people I meet. It’s hard though as what can you write which conveys the person without been insulting or cringe-worthy?
To counteract the problem I tried to write a few things into the blog posts. First came an anecdote from Wirepass Canyon and then came the time to write about the person I spent my time with in Sedona. I came up with this:
I recently mentioned that once in a while you meet someone who has the same sense of humour and you get on brilliantly with. In Wirepass Canyon his name was Lars. In Sedona her name was Jessamin. Sedona would have been a complete disaster had it not been for her company. We joked, teased and laughed our way along the road and trails. I even got fed ice-cream by the person with above average intelligence. I adored Jessamin’s company and whilst dealt with the inevitable “bye” better, it still was a little upsetting to see another new friend move on.
Hmm, that paragraph is a bit woolly. Why would I include it in a blog post? It’s a bit of nothingness really.
Remember the people
I’ve mentioned this before, but it still resonates. Before I left the UK a friend told me to take pictures of the people you visit the places rather than the landscape in front of you. His argument was that if you want a good picture of the scene, buy a postcard. The postcard however will never capture the unique person that joined you. It’s very, very true. Whilst I’m getting better at taking pictures of people, my dad rightly mentions the people are still missing from my writing – he, and the rest of my family and friends, are travelling with through my blog, pictures and emails and they want to know everything. They see someone in a few pictures and wants to know who they are, what they do, where they are from, what relationship I forged with them… Everything.
It’s hard though as they are personal connections and are of the time and place. Unlike making Lars running through the water, most of the time nothing truly remarkable happens. Sure, there are funny jokes and amusing anecdotes to be told but are they the right thing to be putting on a blog available to the whole world? They are my memories and whilst I’ll happily share them by word of mouth I don’t want to put them online for the world to see. It’s not that I’m embarrassed, far from it, I’m just acutely aware that this is the Internet and things here are permanent. Sometimes it’s best not to share stories as people make assumptions or try to read between the lines – I don’t want that and I don’t want my new friends subjected to it.
It is also very hard to write about people. Most of the time it’s the little anecdotes and witty remarks that make a person rather than a big event. These are the hardest to report upon they are the type of things that you needed to experience yourself. Writing about my day in Sedona with Jessamin for instance is nigh on impossible. I could write about how we arranged to go and the jokes that surrounded me staying an extra day in Flagstaff. What about the time where we hiked along the riverbed and sat on the rocks chatting about life. I could mention how we came across a huge tree and had to clamber over the top and ended up walking back around the side. Watching her confusion as acorns fell from the sky (albeit thrown there by me). Taking different paths trying to get lost. Having to correct her route as she hiked off the wrong way, sometimes even crossing the barriers which were designed to stop her. Forcing her to politely listen as I explained just why that mountain bike wasn’t suitable for this trail. Been fed ice-cream as I drove down to Phoenix. Laughing as we navigated through the town with the worst map in the world…
Of course, the little sentences all work together to create a picture of my day out, but does that give you a true sense of the person and the time I spent with her? Is anyone other than me interested in reading these woolly little statements about Jessamin? If she reads this will she be embarrassed, amused or annoyed? Does Jessamin remember the day the same as I or have I made a fool of myself writing about things that didn’t happen?
Travelling is letting me meet many wonderful people and I have many new memories which I will treasure forever. To you, they’d just be words on a screen or words from my mouth. To me, they allow me to remember the people I’ve met not the places I’ve been. Sorry dad!