100.000 photos. This is the bounty I come back with from this two hundred and thirty-four days trip across Nepal, India and Japan. Like many travellers, after months on the road, I longed to return home even though I knew that, after the first week of enjoying the delights of the Western lifestyle, I would quickly get bored and then look back with nostalgia on the carefree days spent through the mountain paths, in atypical houses or even in buses onto broken tracks.
And that’s exactly what happened. The first week back in France was indeed delicious. Coming back home, visiting family and friends, tasting the vegetables from the neighbouring farm, soaking up local wines and spirits,… I am even amazed to feel like I am still traveling while wandering the streets of my city, surprised to hear French-speaking people all around me, wondering why nobody honks at me to get back to the side of the road — a most usual thing in the chaotic streets of Nepal — and why everything is so clean — a most unusual thing in the chaotic streets of Nepal.
But quickly a new routine sets in, this good old routine that crushes us, enslaves us. I then find myself confronted with material problems of little importance, eating me away. The computer lags, the Internet no longer works,… I am once again facing the absurdity of the civilised world. Temporary wooden huts already offer all kinds of gifts — can we really call these gifts? — for the consumerist High Mass of Christmas, people complain because they have to wait for a few minutes before filling their gas tank, … The suspension points dot my text, examples being so numerous. But what to do to not give in to this post-travel syndrome? How not to get carried away by the constant stress of our lifestyle?
So I immerse myself body and soul into my photos. 100.000 shots I told you. It’s a lot of work. I’m gonna have to make a first selection, eliminate the bad stuff. Then a second edit to pick the ones I will process later. A tedious but necessary process. Going back to the past nine months at full speed makes me nostalgic, but happy. I have lived through beautiful things up there on the Himalayan trails… and in the land of the rising sun as well. Yes, I have lived through all of this. In fact, I have just lived! Then why bother with such petty problems? A little bit of music, a hot coffee, and here we go again. I’m complaining, but in the end, am I not already becoming what I’m rejecting? It is time to step back and start building on the bricks of the experiences of this journey. Because it is not just memories and photos I’m coming back home with. It is much much more. I come back with a wealth of experience that money can’t buy and books can’t teach you — and that actually only a few people have the chance to live. So it would be foolish not to take advantage of it and share it with others, don’t you think?