A judoka once commented that competing with Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, was like "fighting against an empty jacket" - his substance was tangible, but pinning him down was an impossible task.
Spending time in a metropolis like New York when you don't know where to find anything, don't know any of the people, the weather is gloomy, immediately getting lost when exploring confusing city streets, is like living in limbo - every day is essentially the same and you can't change it. You just while away the hours. So in order to not go nuts or fall any further into a depression, I started just walking out of the hostel and going straight into Central Park. This was an area I understood.
The best way to gain perspective is by creating space between you and the problem. Even if you don't know what the problem is, or even if there is one, by physically removing yourself from your typical environment you will come to recognise; what is important to you, what is tying you down, and you will start to discover just who you are. Travel is, above all, the quickest and most effective way to create space, and gain perspective.
In 2006, the book "Yes Man" sparked a change in my life. I know, it sounds absolutely corny, but it totally did. Wallace, the author and protagonist, was a fairly similar to me - pessimistic, a little too clever, used sarcasm and sharp wit to try and cover up areas where actually we felt vulnerable. But he commits to an experiment where he simply starts saying yes to things. The change was spectacular. I needed something spectacular in my life.
Looking at the test-print in my hands I'm aware of the way that even this moment that I've captured here is going to fade away. The digital scan of it does not do it justice, and this copy is yellowed and marked with age. Until I find the negatives, I'll have to be content with these poor reproductions, each one of which introduces more entropy into the equation.
I recently found some old photographs from my short stint living in the United States, and decided to scan them into the computer. Since I'd lost or thrown out the negatives years before, these are the only record of my time there.
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