16/05/16 Where Was That Place?
Chats with other travellers at camps often wind up being about places you or they have been and things you or they have seen or done. “Well, if you’re going near …., then you’ll HAVE to go to the ….” Right off the top of their head, with no hesitation for memory recall.
We’ve been travelling for two years and I have to admit that my memory of things is starting to blur a little. Details like place names are sometimes impossible to recall. I’m a visual thinker. If I see a name, I’m more likely to remember and recall it than if I just hear it. So if I haven’t seen a placename for a while, it’s easier to forget it. Di’s different, so between the two of us, we can generally put together the details but the process can be a bit hit and miss. We’d look at each other and say, “Now, where was that place where we.…? Was it….? No, wasn’t it ….?” Enough can usually be pieced together to get by.
I really envy those people who have memories that can retain every little detail of their lives since they were born. Sometimes even earlier, it seems. They are the “analogue” types, who use their natural grey matter to instantly recall and trot out stories and details and names with a clarity like it happened 20 minutes ago, not 20 years. How do they do that!? To me, it’s like some magical gift.
This is not an age related thing with me. I’ve always been the same. I’m the “digital” type when it comes to facts. I’m a tool user. I make a tool to do the work. A big part of my career involved information – its’ storage, recall and dissemination. Around this, I constructed databases to manage the mountains of information. There was, therefore, no need for me to remember any or all the detail; just how to find it quickly. I’m still doing the same thing now as we travel. The places we’ve been in the past three years are all detailed as an electronic snail trail winding its way across a GPS mapping app in my tablet. I can refer to it to see where we’ve been. And this blog forms a diary of our journey and what we’ve done. Again, there’s no need for me to remember all the detail.
I once heard that we are capable of remembering only so much, and to add anything new to that finite capacity, we have to get rid of some old memories to make new space. While home over Christmas, we both took time to read back through the blog and surprisingly discovered that some of it was almost like new, as we’d forgotten it. Those bits had been cleaned out to make space for the new. A little bulb came on illuminating memories that had gone dim. How good is it that we’ve been doing the blog from the very start, and also transposing it into printed coffee table books in case the blog ever goes belly up as web sites are wont to do. They will be our long-term memory of our travels. Five have already been printed, and volume six is underway.
So, in conversations, we “digital” folks will continue to rely on each other to fill in the blanks, as all couples do anyway. And if necessary I’ll trot out the tablet to add some more detail for those bastards with instant recall. That’s just the way we roll.
“It was impossible to get a conversation going. Everybody was talking too much.” – Yogi Berra