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Day 41 – November 19, 2010

The last few days have been interesting in very unexpected ways.

I took my first flight in a small plane, handling it for a some time in the air, on my birthday. Going in I was more curious than excited. Curious to see whether it would turn out as exciting as I had always imagined it would. The surprising part was that it didn’t quite happen. I had always thought that the feeling of taking off while sitting in the pilot’s seat would be euphoric, but it wasn’t. I had imagined that flying in the air with the clouds, far above the reaches of branches and leaves, cars and houses would make me feel in perfect balance with everything, but it didn’t. Maybe it was just one of those things that has been in the pipeline for so long, that the experience doesn’t match up to the irrationally high expectations and fantasies that become associated with it over time.

That’s not to mean that I didn’t enjoy myself. The time spent trying to control the plane, flying and turning, and bringing it back on its intended flight path was probably the most challenging thing I’ve done in a very long time, and I am quite pleased and satisfied with the fact that I finally got to do it. There is also joy associated with it, but I feel the euphoric salvation that I thought it would be was probably misplaced since there was the element of learning something brand new, while it was happening. Maybe the euphoria arrives during the first solo flight, or possibly even later when one is familiar with the aircraft to an extent that it doesn’t involve having to concentrate on every tiny movement. So maybe I shouldn’t get disheartened by the fact that it wasn’t as awesome as I had made myself believe. After all, I remember being quite dissatisfied during the first days of learning my camera. This is no different. The more you practice, the more familiar you become with the tools being used, and the easier it then becomes to focus on the art, rather than the technical, of the craft.

The other topic of curious revelations has been photographic education. I had decided that while in the US I would visit the different photography schools I am considering for pursuing a course next year. It had seemed to me as if visiting the school and seeing the facilities and infrastructure, meeting with the faculty, staff, and students at the school might give me a better idea of the place, thereby assisting me in my decision-making process. That may still be the case, but having visited CDIA (Boston) and Hallmark, I’ve come away with the queer feeling that nothing much has changed insofar as my opinion of each of them is concerned. Hallmark has great facilities and equipment which are a couple of steps above what CDIA offers, but on the flip side it’s more than twice as expensive while also being situated in a very remote and isolated area. Admittedly it is located in the middle of the arts scene in New England, and is well situated from some of the major cities such as Boston and New York. That said I’m not quite sure how easy it will be to live there. A car or at least a bicycle will definitely be needed to move around.

Decisions, decisions…

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Boston: Day 36 – November 14, 2010

Boston from Cambridge

Boston, looking out from Cambridge

Boston, as heard from various others, is known as a walk-able city and today I found that out. Didn’t go to downtown Boston, but quite close. It’s wide, open, and I thought Newbury Street was chic. Easy to get around and clean in layout, I think I like what I saw, which I know isn’t all of Boston, but then the bigger picture is made up of smaller snippets.

Boston path

Boston Park

Boston Street

Being here in the US is the second time in this trip that I’ve felt strange while being in a new place. I’d read that travelling for an extended period of time helps people find out more about themselves, but it’s only now that I’ve started to understand how that works. It’s sometimes a little surprising to find out things about yourself that you never earlier considered. It’s interesting to realize and understand how you respond, either by natural instinct or by habit, to a particular situation in a particular manner, and is something that becomes readily apparent if you experience it more than once. Being in new places on a very regular basis in the last few weeks has given me that opportunity, and I think it’s going to be helpful to me further in my travels to know that. Now that I know how I react habitually, I think I’ll be able to make better judgments about places I visit and stay in.

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