Honest question: if you could go back in time and reconsider anything, what would you change in your life?
I asked this question myself recently, and the only thing I regret is my obsession with trying to learn computers. I wouldn’t change a thing in the past except for this one. It doesn’t mean giving up computers altogether. It would be stupid. And, as a matter of fact, I love what I’m doing for a living. I still spend my free time learning new things and coding for myself. But not all the time anymore. It was the problem. It has been burning away all other wonderful things in my life. Now, when I think of it, it—directly and indirectly—is a source of most of my health issues as well.
For the past eight-something years, before the pandemic started, I’ve been living in South East Asia. I could travel inside out this amazing part of the world, but instead, I spent most of this time in front of my laptop. Whichever place we’ve been visiting, after 20 minutes at almost any location, I was like, “Umm, ok, can I go back to my computer?”.
I learned a lot, but at the same time, I lost a lot. At a particular moment, I realized that I didn’t want to miss moments anymore.
Some years back, our friends visited us in Bali, and we did a hike to the Rinjani volcano on the neighboring island Lombok. It was a relatively exhaustive hike: about 8-9 hours up and the same amount down. Most of the trail was through the forest, and only the last bit was through the ridge. We walked at night. When we got out of trees, my wife sat down to catch her breath. I stood right next to her, trying to focus my sight, and after some time, I looked up. I was so tired that I didn’t notice this right away. I have never seen so many stars in my entire life. No clouds, the night was perfectly clear, and I could easily spot milky way across the sky.
As much I was amazed by the moment, I suddenly felt sad I couldn’t capture this sight in all its beauty. Then, I started thinking about all the places we visited and that there was nothing left except some flat photos taken with my phone.
It was decided: next time I travel to a big land, I’m getting myself a good camera. No sooner said than done. Once landed in my hometown for a family visit, I placed an order and became an owner of a Nikon D750 with a solid wide-angle lens. And my life has changed.
First of all, it has changed how I perceive the world. If in the past, I’ve been mostly wandering in my thoughts, ignoring the rest. Now, I got myself out of this shell and began contemplating the world around me. And it turned out to be good!
Secondly, my work/life balance started to become a thing. I don’t want to sit down in front of my computer all day long anymore. I want to change pictures. I want to travel more.
Traveling itself has become such a wonderful experience. Wherever I am, I'm interested. I’m motivated. I want to explore. I can’t get enough of it. I got to another level of communication with the world and myself.
During the Yosemite trip, we were getting back to our camp after a very long day. It was already dark, and before getting into the tent, I noticed how clear the sky was. And when the sky is clear, some good shots might happen.
If I’d were alone, I'd go rambling with the camera, but I did realize that my wife was very tired, so we got in for asleep. After an hour or so, I still couldn't fall asleep, and for some reason, my wife couldn't either. She probably felt my itching and said, “Wanna drive around?”. I said, “Ok”. But internally, it was more like “Whooohoooo! Let's f@*#ing goooooo!!”.
We jumped in the car and spent a couple of incredible hours in the moony valley. No super special photos were taken, just a couple of nice ones.
But I enjoyed the process deeply and thoroughly. When we got back, we fell asleep like babies. A terrible sleepless night in the tent was turned into an experience to remember. It happened to pretty much every trip ever since.
Now, when the pandemic is still part of our reality, and we are going through parenting (six months today, btw!), I miss airports and hotels, sunrises and mountains—but look forward to the future where we will show the world to our daughter and capture all the moments along the way.