Tomorrow is a strange day; I am flying back to Lancaster with my parents for graduation. It is strange because I felt like I left Lancaster behind when I moved out of my room, said goodbye to my handball team and packed my clothes out of my bags and into the drawers in my childhood room. It is strange because I do not feel as if I have graduated. I’ve had a lot of dead time between the last exam I had in May and the upcoming week, and I’ve spent them travelling, hiking and getting back into photography. I have always been notorious about bringing my Canon along on any trip, but I began to follow some amazing people on Instagram and it made me want to become better. I read up on different functions of my DSLR and I subscribed to the Photographer’s package from Adobe. I began to post almost daily on Instagram, and while it’s become an excuse for me not to actually do this blog as I planned on, it still leaves me inspired to continue to create. I find it easier with photography than with writing, and I think it is because I do it in the moment. Hiking through snowy mountain peaks how can you not be moved by the beauty? How can you not pause, lift the camera to your eye and try to your best ability to capture that sense of gratitude you feel being able to walk through such splendour? On returning home it’s a lot of work to go through all the photographs, pick out the favourites and edit them all. I’m already way behind, but it is easy to edit one and put it up on Instagram each day. Writing is harder – you come home, sit down to stare on a blank screen trying to remember exactly what that feeling was. How can I describe it the best way? How should I tell the story so I engage people, inspire people? Why should they read it? It is hard to remember that there’s a learning curve that I’m still struggling to begin with, because I’m scared. Writing takes time, it takes planning, and it takes, at least to me, a lot of determination to do it while that voice in my head is saying ‘this isn’t that great’, and ‘you can do better than this’.
I’ve started applying for jobs. At this point I’m still optimistic about the prospect of doing something where I can apply skills from my degree. I’ve looked at translation, copywriting and, with a hopeful flick in the finger as I send the application, travel writing. At the same time, the days go by and I do nothing but just worry that my plan of spending 6 months working, saving money and travelling will go horribly wrong. I want to think this will be a pause from my studies that will reward me, offer opportunities to go to Colombia or Africa, travel my own country more, and maybe do some longer hikes. I’m scared now that I will end up with a job I hate, and an existence where all I do is work, exercise and fight with my parents because I feel very little connection to by hometown after living away for 5 years. I realised today as I sent in an application to write for a travel site that if anything, I need to take this time to become the person I know I want to be and think I can be if I put my mind to it. Highest on that list of things is to not take myself so seriously. I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned during my university years is that I am not amongst the best, and that it is okay. I still did really well, and I had amazing experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I had studied really hard at trying to become best. Being best is fun, but I will also be happy doing really well. It is when I start criticising too much that I stop creating, and while I know this is the wrong way to go about anything, it is where I’ve ended up. So if nothing else goes as planned this year, I will try to gag that inner editor and shove him into a closet. Then I will let my hair down (metaphorically – I usually wear it down) and embrace my imperfections; I will embed deep in my soul that first of all art is fun, and after that I can work on becoming a better photographer, writer and story teller.
Therefore, instead of deciding what this blog is going to be like before I start making it, I’ll start writing it and then figure out what it will be like. I also promise to make a brave attempt at website coding, because I’m not satisfied with this look.