I often flick through wads of old photos for blog inspiration, or at least as an excuse to delay the start of another dreary work day. Recently I came across four photos which I could neither name nor date. Is that what modern travel has become, a collection of random snaps and completed checklists from long forgotten, nameless destinations?
Quite clearly the photos are from Rome – the Tiber River and the Spanish Steps. Judging by the fashions and fact that these are prints from old 35mm negatives, I’m guessing they are late ’80s early ’90s, my back-packing days.
Only one problem – I didn’t make it to Rome until 2002.
Not one to doubt my own mental capacity – in fact anyone I know will vouch that I’m quite the opposite – I have several theories as to how this might have happened.
Theory one – Photo-shop stuff up: Now you may not know this, but in a past life I actually ran a photo mini-lab. I was the one laughing at your mullets, red-eye family portraits and suspicious drunken frolicking. And you were the lucky ones. Back to the point, negatives were usually cut into strips of four, ready for packing into envelopes for customer pick up. If you happened to drop two negative rolls on the floor while cutting and sorting them… well let’s just say, have fun remembering which customer went to Hawaii and which one went to Puffing Billy. Likelihood: Possible.
Theory two – Some stoner travel buddy borrowed my camera… and forgot to tell me that he went to Rome without me (and only bothered to take four photos). Apart from the fact that I didn’t tend to tolerate stoners for long, my camera never left my day-pack, which in turn, never left my side. Except for one time when I fell asleep on a train to Berlin at midnight having just consumed a bucket-load of goulash and six steins of Czech beer, and woke up to find my day-pack in the corridor and all my money gone. Likelihood – Ridiculous.
Theory three – I’m losing it: Do you ever feel like your data-banks are full and unless you do a complete defrag on your brain or buy a new external bionic hard-drive, you just can’t retain any additional information? I do, but I find instead of rejecting new information, I tend to just drop off something from the past so as to squeeze the new data in. Unless it’s about a function I have to go to next weekend. Seriously though, my travel journals are like an analog back-up for my memory. I went to Florence, I went to Venice, I went to Pisa, but I didn’t go to Rome. Likelihood – Impossible.
Conclusion – likely to remain a mystery.
One thing I should make clear, yes travelling is my passion but I don’t ever take it for granted. I realise its a privilege (and that I could have paid off two mortgages!) so I enjoy every trip, every museum, meal and all the time with my family. I love what I call the “smell of adventure”, the feeling of arriving in a new country, or a strange city.
If I had been in Rome, I would remember it. I would have done as the Romans do (vote for corrupt politicians, talk about soccer, ride a Vespa and dress in my Sunday best just to go to the supermarket), and I sure would have taken more than four measly photos.