木漏れ日 (komorebi) - sunlight filtering through trees.
After 8 years of living in California, I finally did Highway 1 from Orange County to San Francisco this week. My spontaneity flared last week and I ended up booking campsites at San Simeon SP, Limekiln SP, and Butano SP after realizing my knee probably wouldn’t heal in time for my planned Half Dome hike (good news—no torn ACL, but still need some recovery time). It was my first long road trip with my own car (now dubbed Gari after the bright orange California state fish) and first multi-day camping trip in California. Highlights included seeing the Milky Way in San Simeon, being joined by a banana slug for breakfast, taking a freezing outdoor shower out of a bag, sea otters at Monterey Bay Aquarium, ALL OF THE VIEWS, hammocking amongst redwoods, an abundance of thought-provoking and entertaining conversations, and the very best camping companion.
There were too many beautiful viewpoints to stop at, but here were some highlights along Big Sur. The weather was spectacular—warm days, cool nights.
I listened to NPR’s Leave a Message in November while on a flight to Asia with my mom. I honestly don’t remember the specifics of the podcast, but it talked a lot about the demise of voice messages, which became something I thought about a lot in the last few months. I grew up accustomed to silence and deference, and as a result, developed methods of communication that were more passive and reflective. Journaling and writing became therapy for me. I expressed myself most thoroughly through writing—letters, Post-its, emails, blog posts. My blogging habit was born in 2008 out of a desire to share my photographic journey with people on the internet because I didn’t really know how to engage with people about my thoughts in person. The vulnerability and intimacy of vocal communication is something that has been consistently difficult for me growing up. Saying how I feel can still, at times, be indescribably hard and physically nauseating. Since listening to the podcast, I have been looking for more ways to incorporate spoken word into my methods of documentation and communication beyond face-to-face conversations. In Hong Kong, I recorded voice messages to a friend at various points in the city—a type of conversation through space and time. It felt strange and awkward at first, to speak to someone who wasn’t there and wasn’t responding, but I’ve grown increasingly attached to voice memos. I find it comfortingly nostalgic to be able to hear someone’s voice overlaid with sounds and textures of their environment (other conversations, background music, natural sounds, city sounds). There is so much nuance, emotion, and immediacy conveyed in a spontaneous voice message that is easily lost in written word. The sound recordings are a clipping of a person’s day, a moment of time shared when it wasn’t able to be shared at all. I wish longform voice recordings were a more common form of communication and expression (WeChat/WhatsApp users often will do voice recordings, but in shorter snippets that are more reflective of texting or speaking behavior than a letter). During my trip up to NorCal, I also recorded bits and pieces of normal conversations. I have a vague mental concept in my head of using these soundscapes in combination with my photos to create a media representation of my memory. I am not sure what that would look or feel like yet, but it’s something I look forward to exploring.
What is something you wish people did more often?