Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Evolving backwards to better your life

I know we all like to evolve in some way or the other.  Usually making our lives better with new gadgets, new ideas, new challenges.  But what is really making our life better, the better technology or the mere changes in technology?

I have always been an iPhone fan.  My wife is a Samsung believer and although I have commented in the past on the nice quality of her pictures, I never really thought of changing over to a Samsung. That would not be going forward right? I used to take a lot of photos with my iPhone although usually only when I did not have my SLR close by.  A while ago my iPhone 4 was stolen from my vehicle so when I go down to the beach for a walk or a surf I leave my other iPhone at home. I wouldn't want to lead anyone into temptation again.  The iPhone 4 that was stolen was also my music box where I stored all my mp3's.  My iPhone 5S is for use and for images ready to upload on Instagram when needed. The downside of leaving your phone and camera at home is that when the opportunity arises to take nice shots then you don't have it with you.  

I was at the beach for a surf this morning but noticed that the sunrise was awesome.  I wanted to take pictures first thinking that the waves will stay around a little longer but the clouds and colours won't. Of course I did not have my camera equipment with me and there was no time to head home.  All I had was this Samsung Galaxy 3 which I have never used for photography before...or anything else I might add.  My wife handed it down to me so I demoted it to a mp3 player and nothing more.  I actually forgot that I had the option to take pictures with it, but it dawned on me that I actually do have a camera close by....albeit my opinion that is won't stand up to the challenge.  How wrong could anyone be....?

Once I got started taking pictures I was quite amazed at the images on my screen.  What interested me more however was that it felt to me like I have bought myself a new camera.  The thought that it is a "downgrade" from my iPhone 5S never even occurred to me.  I got so involved that I completely forgot about the surfing and wanted to take it to other places to see what I could get. I started wondering why my wife decided to get a new Samsung and realized that she had also stepped into this trap where we believe new technology is "moving forward". Maybe sometimes we just need a change, not a better this or a better that. Just a change from what we are used to. 

Below are two of the images from my Samsung expedition this morning.  If you like to see some more images please check out my Facebook Page and be so kind to like my page while you are there.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The dizziness of freedom

Wayne Dyer said "Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery."

We either have to work to support ourselves, we have families that require our attention, we live by rules made up by governments that tell us what to do and not to do, endless responsibilities, the list goes on. All these must be forms of slavery then. Will we ever be totally free?

I just returned from my "Let it Be" road trip to nowhere.  I had no plans and no destination, I just wanted to take the road and see where it leads me. I wanted to feel what it feels like to be free, to do what I want, when I want and not care about all the attention constantly required from me by friends and family. The only plans I made was to secure a safe place to sleep at night, because sleeping next to the road in South Africa is dangerous.  Already my freedom was challenged, but at least I was free to choose where I was going to stay. 

I always feel it is better to experience new places with someone. Traveling solo isn't really my preferred method of traveling, but can you really be free to do what you want when you have someone else's preferences to take into account? 

I traveled alone but made good use of the company I met along the road. I still was free to wave good-bye and move on to my next destination at any time I wished.

Despite my "freedom trip" reality never left me alone.  Financially I knew that a life like this cannot go on forever. I missed my family and knew I had to return eventually to my responsibilities. I still had to lock my doors when I left my car and stay inside the boundaries of the law, but for a week I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted and where I wanted... and if that is what freedom feels like then I can understand why everyone longs for freedom.  What I learned though was that a little bit of "slavery" wasn't such a bad thing after all.  It was nice to know that there is more to life than just floating around senselessly.  People that care is probably the most important one that jumps to mind. Having responsibility and meaning to others can be better than having total freedom.  Maybe we should never reach a state of total freedom, maybe we should just strive towards it and accept the slavery as a reminder of our worth to others on this planet.

Soren Kierkegaard said in his famous statement that "Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom".  Once we are totally free we start getting anxious because we don't know how to handle the freedom.  We might feel that we do not belong anywhere anymore, that we are not valued anymore. We might not have a future with plans and goals ahead of us and we will be like a rudderless ship on an open sea. We might even go mental if we are just free, because as human beings we have certain qualities that requires some sort of purpose in our lives and we cannot find that if we freed ourselves from any responsibilities towards ourselves, other human being, animals and even nature. 

I am back at my current life of slavery and I cannot say that I feel disappointed about it.  I am actually glad that some people missed me when I was away.  I am glad that I could resume some of my slave duties this morning.  What is a good to know is that I can do another "freedom trip" whenever I feel like it, just go with the flow and let it be. I actually have the freedom to do that. After this trip I feel revitalized in body and in spirit with new motivation to carry on because I know that the slavery I am subjected to in my life right now is not slavery after all, it is a choice that I made and where I feel comfortable in. Freedom is in any case something we should create for ourselves in our minds, just like happiness I guess. With a little compromise here and there we can all be free.

*For more of the images I took while on this trip, feel free to visit my Facebook Page

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Repainting my diary

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” 
― Pablo Picasso

I am not Pablo Picasso, nor am I one that keeps a diary, but I do have a blog and I guess that is close enough to painting.  I started blogging years ago when friends suggested I write my travel stories in a place where I can not only keep them, but also share them.  I thought to myself that maybe it would be a good place where my kids can one day go and read about their dad, seeing that no-one has any intentions of writing a book about me. The travel stories was where it started, but later on I wrote about other things a swell. I got to a point in June 2014 when I traveled less and switched over to Instagram where I used my spare time mostly to take pictures and posting it there.  The blog became dormant and I never touched it again until now.

Since I started my photography endeavor I didn't spend much time writing either, but I had a need to express myself. On Instagram this is not possible because I don't think many people read what you write under your images, unless it is short and relevant.  I posted one or two personal experiences on my Facebook Page recently but realized that I should separate my personal life and feelings from my photography business. It was time to start up my blog again.  I gave it a new coat of paint and added a section called "Life". Yes, I am getting to that age now where I can tell you on or two things about life. I will still blog about travels, motor biking and other stuff and not only sit and contemplate life, but I will keep this separate from IG and Facebook. I might once in a while share something to my friends on Facebook, but for rest this is back to my "diary" and life's disillusions.

I have kicked of my "Let it Be" journey and I think this is a good time to start writing again. If you are interested please feel free to follow me..... 

Let it be

If you have ever experienced the adrenaline injection of doing a static line jump from a plane then these words are probably stuck in your mind forever. They reckon that when a person jumps from a plane for the first time, his body experiences initial shock and loses all relations to its environment or familiarity with being on a steady surface. If it wasn't for these words that were drilled into you during your training you will either pass out or try your best to run back to the plane in mid air. I guess that is why people start kicking when you throw them off a building or a bridge....
It takes about 6 seconds from the time you leave the plane until your chute opens. In these 6 seconds you would probably (and preferably) have felt the strong jerk on the static line meaning that you were indeed hooked onto the plane and that your chute is now deploying. Once that happens you do your checks to see if everything is in order praying for the absence of an unlikely event referred to as a "malfunction". Those six seconds would have felt like six hours if it wasn't for the counting, but still for a few seconds you had no idea what the hell was going on.
A year ago I decided to leave the 9-5 grind and enter the world of "The Free". I knew it was going to be a shock to my system, but nothing could prepare me for it. I believe I jumped without the basic training signed off on my new log book. The first second of free fall was fantastic, but after that I realized there were no Terra Firma underneath my feet. I started grasping at everything I could find for a place to hold on to. I realized I jumped and I was falling fast, but I was not counting like I was supposed to. In any case, do I count in seconds, days, weeks or months? Am I hooked in? Do I even have a parachute on my back?
It is a year later. When I look back I shake my head in disbelief. The highs and lows I've been through over the last 12 months has gone from one extreme to the other. Some days it felt like I was on ecstasy, some days I wish I could get hold of more serious stuff. I made new friends, I lost old friends, got hurt by people I loved and received love from people I hurt. I visited exciting new places and got teary-eyed over places I haven't seen for a while. Some days I could feel like the riches person in the world only the next day to feel like a beggar asking for as small tip to buy some dignity at a spaza shop called Self-Esteem. I grew my hair then cut it again, worked sparingly with my savings and then wasted it again, went to the beach for inspiration and then avoided that same beach because of the lack of motivation. I was falling and never looked up to do my checks because I did't know whether I was still within my "6-seconds-before-you-start-sweating" period or not.
For months now I kicked, pushed and grabbed hoping that something would stop my fall, instead of enjoying the view from above. I wanted to force myself in directions which did not feel right hoping that a parachute would open. What I did not realize was that I have to look up and see if there was anything happening above me at all. What I did not do was to just let it go and let it be, to wait for Life to take its course. Life is certainly not moved by my impatience and anxiety, that I can tell you.
Looking back over the last 12 months I have achieved a lot, I have learned a lot, experienced a lot, gained a lot, but I nearly made the mistake of not acknowledging and appreciating it a lot. I cannot force it anymore, I am letting it be. I might not have counted, but I am pretty convinced that I still have few more seconds left before I start worrying about a potential malfunction. Kicking and pushing doesn't help, I am opening myself up to 'Life' to take me where she wants me to go. I'm pretty sure that many of the spectators on the ground is looking up at me and wishing that it was them doing their first static line jump from 3000ft.....trained or not!
I'm leaving you with the lyrics of the famous Beatles song, Let It Be. Thanks to everyone who stood by me and is still standing by me. I am planning a month of just letting it be. I want to relax, take my mind of everything and travel, surf, take photos and see where it takes me after that. I might still regularly post pictures or I might not, I might write more soppy essays or not. I'm just going to let it be and let the answers come to me.
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And when all the brokenhearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be