In the past few days, I have traveled quite a bit around the world. I was sitting on the banks of the Mekong in Laos at the best sunset time and had breakfast in a small café in Essaouira. I hiked in Styria and Languedoc. My straightforward stay-at-home life is pretty limitless.
I meet a lot of people I almost forgot: Maria, the old Ibizan peasant woman with the great smile lines. Or the glassblower from Damascus, who made us the most beautiful bedroom lamp ever.
Am I completely out of my mind in times of closed borders and hotels? Not at all. I’m just enthusiastic about finding a treasure, the value of which I only really become aware of in a Corona state of emergency: old vacation photos.
We all guard hundreds and thousands of them in the cloud, in dusty shoe boxes under the bed or in glossy photo books that have not been leafed through for a long time. My current experience: bringing out or scrolling through is very worthwhile!
Digging through the souvenirs is as relaxing as a solo jogging session in the park or a video regulars’ table with friends on the Internet. After a rather exhausting “Between toddlers and home office” days, I spent some surprisingly nice moments rediscovering my picture archive.
What jacket am I wearing in the photo?
Regardless of whether the vacation photos were taken in the distance or in the vicinity of micro-adventures, whether they document the package holiday or the backpacking trip: They are – not only because many of them were taken in summer – memories of bright, carefree days.
Doesn’t viewing in times of closed borders, canceled trips and uncertain vacation prospects draw? I think the pixels are more energizers than melancholy.
When my husband and I sit on the sofa in the evening and go on trips together, we are suddenly no longer two exhausted parents who either have to catch up on work or urgently need to tidy up in the chaotic apartment. For half an hour we are adventurous travel companions and inspired storytellers instead of moaning to-do callers (“Did you actually take care of a new repeater for the study?”).
“Do you remember in …?” – sometimes my husband reminds me of details of a trip that I had already forgotten – or vice versa. Being “away” for a short time helps to make your own four walls feel less tight. In a paper envelope I discover almost a quarter of a century old pictures of my first “adult holiday”, a camping holiday on the French Atlantic. What a feeling of freedom and independence!
I have no idea whose jacket I’m wearing on this one evening photo on the beach and who loaned it to me. But the laugh is definitely mine. On ski vacation photos I meet old friends from my youth whom I haven’t thought about for a long time, but with whom funny winter weeks connect me, and make a firm commitment to finally get in touch again.
The coming vacation – canceled
My five-year-old son gave me the idea of looking at old vacation pictures in peace again. Since he doesn’t go to daycare after getting up, he likes to delve into his current favorite reading every morning: “Farm Holidays 2019”.
A friend gave us the photo book as a souvenir of last year’s Easter holidays in Lower Saxony. 92 pages of bread baking, pony rides, trampoline jumping, warp driving and Easter egg hunt – and relaxed adults toasting themselves in the last evening light on the holiday house terrace. We actually wanted to meet there again in about two weeks. Nothing will come of it now. Of course that’s sad. But I made a firm decision not to whine about it.
Browsing through my vacation photos made it clear to me again: Not knowing when we can go on vacation is really not a disaster in view of Corona and the worldwide dramatic consequences. Rather, it is a huge luxury that I have so many photo treasures at all – and that can be used quite well for now.