An excerpt from the aforementioned Shapiro's book A Sense of Place :
"When seeing a new place, I often think : I am going to come back here later - when I am rich, or when I have more time, or when I have a purpose, or when I am with someone I love - and do this right. But it is self-deception. More often than not, my feet lead me somewhere new rather than somewhere I've already been. And as I sat at that window watching the train bore through the heart of China, I had a different, more probable thought, and I wrote it down : I better remember what this place looks like. I will never be back."
- Brad Newsham, All the Right Places
Don't we all think like that most of the time? I'll come back when _________ (insert whatever). This thought crossed my mind a few times during my travels. Most notably, I am reminded of my first trip to Bali.
Standing on the cliff off the fairways of Nirwana Golf Resort, overlooking the sea and Tanah Lot; the evening skies starting to filter in the various shades of gold and crimson, making me squint; the warm salty breeze blowing in my face; the waves splashing on to the rocks in some kind of rhythm; I thought to myself : I must come back here when.....
Then, I couldn't finish the sentence.
Because I don't know when I will come back. Or why.
It was then that I understood what a seasoned traveller meant when we had a short unexpected encounter. He has travelled to many exotic and historic places around the world - Egypt, North and South America, all over Europe, Asia and so on. He's done almost everything from climbing mountains and bungy jumping to riding camels and swimming with sharks.
I asked him : How come you didn't bring along your camera? His answer : It is all up here (pointing to his head). It took me a few seconds to respond : I get what you mean. He said : Besides, I don't have room for all the pictures and wouldn't know what to do with them.
Now, what I really want to do when I'm struck by the awesomeness of God's creations, is to be still, soak in the beauty of the moment, and let my heart have conversations with itself. Let the moment be imprinted in my mind.
I want to remember how each place made me feel.
Who knows, I might not be back.