As people, we all have our own trappings, idiosyncrasies, failings, and merits. When it comes to travel, experiences, motion, memories, whatever… one of mine is to attempt to recreate something that you once knew. Something that parallels what you used to do. Something living in the image of who you used to be, rather than whom you are. Something that appeals to your senses of familiarity and nostalgia. If I find myself repeating a trip, visiting a place I have been before, or reliving something long done, I have the terrible habit of attempting to remold it according to the formula that worked so well the last time.
The reason that this never works is that there are simply too many variables involved in travel to ever recreate something you once had (and even if you could produce a projection straight out of your fond memory – would you ever want to?). The people you travel with change, you change as a person, and the group dynamic is ever shifting. The weather can affect your trip. There are so many moving parts – the inside jokes, the stupid games, the loving nicknames, and the ridiculous bad decisions: they all play a part in the formation of that umbra that lives below any memorable trip.
I find myself always fighting the urge to recant stories from the past and somehow bottle our new trip and package it as “Just As Awesome As Ever.” In fact, if you just let your trip live its own life, it will invariably form it’s own strong memory and identity. Only when you hold it up to your “perfect” memory in constant comparison does it ever really begin to pale. Of course, some trips are just more memorable and fun than others. Sometimes you get rained out, sometimes your group has a less than perfect social dynamic. People get injured, robbed, stole on. But on the flip side of the coin, sometimes you have a comfortable group, roaring laughter, someone that can cook, someone that can play music, common interests… whatever it is that makes the wheels turn.
This mentality is absolutely paramount when embarking on any new adventure. As important as having a warm sleeping bag, dry clothes, a charged phone when you need it, or some emergency money in your pocket – is having an openness to be surprised. And as experienced only recently, of course it doesn’t hurt to have some seriously funny or ridiculous people around when the going gets tough.
I try to emulate the people around me that I enjoyed traveling with the most – and more importantly than anything, simply to try to make each new adventure exactly that – a new adventure.
Photo is from Abercrombie Camp, Kodiak Island, AK.