Thoughts on my struggle with wanting to document almost everything
My phone’s battery is dead. When I left the van it was about ninety percent full, but then I listened to one of the most important matches of Jeroen’s favourite football club. They were about to become the national league’s champion and Jeroen had even decided to fly to the Netherlands to be part of the festivities, as he discovered a ticket was actually pretty cheap. So I am alone now. Hence my extensive chatting on Twitter while I was listening to the match. I really needed some form of sharing this over-excitement. This little introduction to what I would like to tell you has a bit of a sad ending though. Contrary to what everyone’d thought, Feyenoord –that’s what the team from Rotterdam is called- lost. Bigtime. To actually the second team from the same city – one that’s regarded much less good. They might still make champion next week, but it’s all very depressing right now. Everyone had anticipated these championship festivities so much. I walk around with my backpack. Since it’s Mothers’ Day in Spain today and, of course, a weekend day too, the terraces are crowded with families having a good time together. (At least they are.) I looked up an ice cream parlour, but right after finishing my cone, a woman went standing next to me. Waiting until I’d leave. She had no idea I had actually planned staying there until the game was finished, and after maybe even get some work done.
At one point, she even leaned over and asked something about me occupying the table. I think it couldn’t have been something like ‘when are you leaving?’, because she looked nice. It must have been something like: ‘are these available?’. Anyway, I had earphones in and was anxiously listening to the game (by now it was getting very exciting, although still 0-0), so I couldn’t hear it and after all: I don’t even speak Spanish. So I just nodded. She sat down and I stood up. There was no need in staying, because the whole point of having had that ice-cream was so that I could legitimately sit somewhere in a relaxed manner. And sitting beside chatting Spanish women is a lot, but not relaxed.
So I walked to the nearest park and sat down on a bench and after the game was over, and we’d lost, my phone died on me. Which was actually good, because I may have easily sat there for another two hours – staring at my screen like a zombie, swiping down things I either already knew or did not want to hear. (Why do people enjoy the loss of others? That I found maybe even more sad than the losing itself.)
Now I am a few hours without my phone and it feels nice. You know, this is not a revelation or something. It’s happened before and I know that technology isn’t everything. And it’s not like I freaked out about it. Besides I still had my laptop with me. A power bank even. If I were to have taken the cord I could have charged my phone as well, but I’d forgotten.
Why I am telling you this, is because it made me think of something I really struggle with. Being without my phone didn’t point that out, because I already knew, but it just reminded me of it. And since I don’t have a phone to mindlessly swipe around on but instead a laptop, I am going to tell you about it.
I am obsessed with documenting. In my head, at least. I would literally like to write down every single thought I have. Because it seems special. Because I’ve never had it. Because maybe not another person has ever had it. Or maybe because everyone else has had this thought and will applaud the recognition. Then there’s the things we see and experience, the people we meet, the funny and strange things happening. There’s all so much. So very much. I must admit that I find that half of the time, I don’t even want to go do anything special, like visiting a beautiful place or do something exciting or try to have a super nice day. Half of the time I just want to have, well, a boring day. It’s the only way I can grasp what happens to me on all other days. (That’s also one of the reason we like to travel In a slow pace. Enjoyment takes time.)
What we do is worth writing about
You see, what we do is pretty unique – to most people at least. Take into account that I am a journalist at heart, and describing ‘what is different’ is my second nature. Then also, on top of that, do realise that I also like to add something to this world. I’d like my writing to have an inner core. To offer some kind of inspiration to those whom seek it. So writing down some of those thoughts and feelings and experiences is not only for me. Realising I come across as some kind of saint, but I do honestly want to admit this. Or maybe it’s just the ‘being part of something greater than yourself’ everyone is so on about these days. Like having a baby. You could never rationalise why, but it just feels good. Most of the time.
And no, of course I don’t write down everything I think. And I don’t make pictures of everything all of the time. It would require a part-time job to sort them. And when would I ever be looking at them? Sure, it’s great to have some visual memories of nice things happening (or perhaps not so nice things), but they don’t need to come in dozens a day. I understand that.
When it comes to photographing and filming my life, I’m actually quite alright, when I come to think about it. Recently I’ve come to the point where I take Instagram less serious and although I do use Instagram Stories pretty often, I only do so when I feel like doing it. There is so much I don’t show – and don’t capture it solely for my own archive either. Good stuff, bad stuff, everything. Why? Because, I don’t particularly want it at that moment. I’m not going to force myself because THE INSTANT I feel like I ‘have to do something’, I sort of hate it. I know myself like that. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m stubborn like that. Don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing either.
Writing it all down, that’s something else. I don’t do that either, but I just can’t help feeling guilty about it. It gets worse when I think about all the times I’ve regretted only keeping a diary for, like, three days when I was young, and then got tired of it and stopped altogether. What great texts would I have had in my possession if I had persisted?! (Seriously, childhood diaries are the best and most hilarious thing ever. And hold beautiful truths as well, I can tell from the few pages I actually did write.)
Granted, I should write some of what’s happening down. I enjoy writing. Even if I weren’t to do anything with it, it’s perhaps even a good coping mechanism. But, man, what is up with this feeling of wanting to document everything so thoroughly. I know that what I am doing is awesome and all, but let me in the first place just live my life, right?!