Closer to Home
Getting in Touch
I started out as a shy traveler. I was worried to be seen poring over a map, because I might be "mistaken" for a tourist. And I would certainly never bring a camera with me. After all, I don't usually forget things. Aside from the embarrassment of carrying the thing around, I would remember what I saw anyway.
In 1994 I went to Miami. In Miami Beach they have a wonderful and wacky style of architecture. The homes there are an art-deco imitation of steamships, and they were so surreal that I wanted to take some pictures. It was there that I bought a camera. The camera was a cheap one without a focus, so in the end I bought a coffee table book on Miami architecture. But it was around that time that I started to take pictures.
The one thing I forgot about was that people always ask how your trip was, and for this reason alone I started to bring the camera. There was a trip to Peru, and afterwards I put together a photo album. It was a good prop. Not only could I tailor the narrative in the order of the pictures, but I could keep things moving -- and even had a chance of getting through the entire story.
For a month or two after each trip, I explained and explained, getting smoother with each iteration. I noticed, though, that some people have more interest than others, and people naturally have different attention spans. Some people, when they hear you've had a good trip, are satisfied and then change the subject.
This is what I like about the Web. You can delve as deeply as you want -- or not at all. If you get tired of one thing, you can jump somewhere else, so if you're not a linear sort of person, you're not trapped in someone else's story. And besides, I don't have to keep explaining. It's a bit more work to put together, but then again, you can reach more people. That's another thing I like. People I know are all over the place, and sometimes I don't see them in person for a long time. By that time a trip is old news, and I certainly don't like to lug around a photo album. Now I can e-mail them and say, "It's on the web."