Travel – Nostalgic Time Travelling

Travelling is a big part of my life and identity, and not being able to roam around freely due to the current situation feels strangely confronting. What do I miss exactly? Why do I  feel the need to constantly be going somewhere I have not been before? Do I really need perpetual novelty to feel excited about life?

I wholeheartedly miss the thrill of exploration, the excitement of seeing new places and fresh faces, the serendipitous meetings with strangers who become friends, and the pleasure of discovering unusual neighbourhoods more than I would like to admit. Travelling, to me, is both an adventure and a comfort. It is something I do to grow, learn, and find myself, and it can also be a distraction I turn to to escape my own thoughts. And now that I cannot travel in the physical plane, I find myself travelling back in time, reliving past experiences, moments, and situations.

Photographs are great facilitators of this kind of travel you may call nostalgia. These muted captured moments are fragments of your life, gentle reminders of times gone by. Some photographs are of days you remember very clearly, others prompt you to recall particular points in time which have somehow slipped your memory. Some moments are not captured at all, and exist only in your mind or in your heart.

Videos are even more poignant. They can catch the atmosphere of an instant – the sounds and the voices, as well as exchanged glances and unsaid words. They take you back completely to how you felt in that moment, and sometimes it feels as though you are watching someone you do not recognise anymore. Videos can remind you of how much you’ve grown and ho far you’ve come, physically as well as emotionally.

Yet whilst these dreamy archives of our lives contain such priceless memories and valuable information, they can also be dusty, stuffy places which need to be cleared up. Travelling back in time can be soothing and reassuring, but it is also easy to get stuck in a place you don’t really belong anymore. The difference between missing and reminiscing is only a few letters on a page, but mentally there is a huge difference, as least for me.  As my favourite sentimental Soviet cartoon song goes:

Медленно минуты уплывают в даль,
Встречи с ними ты уже не жди.
И хотя нам прошлое немного жаль,
Лучшее, конечно, впереди.

Slowly the minutes flow far away,

No need to wait for their return.

And although we’re sad that our past can’t stay,
Better times, of course, are still ahead.

(Please note that this English translation is only one way to interpret the Russian lyrics of the song. The beauty of this it is that it can be interpreted in at least four ways, and that each person can bring their own meanings to it, which can of course change over the course of their life.)

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