If there's a system to be found in this trip - or blog - it'll surprise me as much as anyone (Photo taken in Derry, Northern Ireland)

So it begins – again.  Blogging is one of those things that, as an idea, always invigorates me: the accessibility of the format, and the egalitarian nature of the publication, are just a couple of things that drive me to consider doing it.  I’ve been driven to consider doing it for about two months now.

The thing is, when it comes to putting the virtual pen to paper, I’ve consistently managed to talk myself out of it.  Like the purest, most unadulterated ideas, blogging ends up disappointing the moment it ceases being purely cerebral.  In the real world (i.e. the world of my blog), the words don’t go together as well as they should, the widgets don’t install as seamlessly as they could, and the template just isn’t as crisp as it was showcased on the WordPress homepage.  What really makes it worth it?

After opening up my photos folder 30 minutes ago and discovering that I’d accidentally deleted about half of the photos I’d taken in Ireland and England in the past month – including the one that was going to christen this site just perfectly – I almost put it off yet again.  The photo depicted me standing beside the massive wooden gates of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, after a 2 hour-long session learning about the production process of Ireland’s most famous stout.  My tour was capped off by a complimentary pint in the museum’s bar, which happened to be at the time hosting a string quartet from the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.

It was an opulent, serendipitous experience, in the midst of a backpacking journey in which such luxuries came randomly.  The picture was perfect because this is what “Can I have a water with that” is all about: planning my journey in a way that spares the frills one day, in order to allow for a pint the next.  Or accepting that offer of a couch to surf when all I really want is a room to myself for the night; after all, by doing so, who knows what connections I’m going to make that I wouldn’t otherwise.

So you can imagine my despair when I realized I’d canned the photo in a clumsy, feverish purge three weeks ago in Prague.  A frantic scramble for some kind of motivation to continue – I had, after all, secured a more secure internet connection than I’d had in about a week – led me to realize that accepting disappointment and moving on to “second best” has characterized this trip just as much as anything else.  Missing that bus that would have fit into my itinerary perfectly, or forgetting to make a reservation at that famed hostel – these are all things that sting a little at first.  Thankfully, I’ve found that the lack of a systematic efficiency in my trip – including my photo managing skills – has made it more spontaneously wonderful than I could have hoped.  Let’s call it the hidden blessings of plan B.

It’s themes like this that I hope to touch on as I chronicle my journeys over the next two months.  As I’ve been writing posts for the last month or so (in the absence of a blog to publish them on), I’ll be releasing some of them retroactively.  I’ve also been taking some photographs, although I’m still hopelessly ignorant of many of the useful manual functions on my Canon G11.  Constructive criticism here is greatly appreciated, as I hope to become much more prolific.

Blogging is never easy for me, and I don’t expect the final product to ever be quite as satisfying as I initially envision.  At least at first; my hope is that I look back, and realize that the way that I chronicled a certain event, or the photo that I posted – however crappy they seemed at first – actually created an important story in and of themselves.  And hopefully blessed or inspired someone along the way.  Happy reading!

Szeged, Hungary

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2 Responses to Genesis

  1. Sharon Hann says:

    Tom… Is that a Banksy you found??? Hands down, the best street artist of all time. I was so hoping to happen upon some of his work when I was in London, but I was not so lucky. Sorry to hear about the loss of your photos – thanks for pushing through and posting anyway! And so happy to read you are discovering blessings in unexpected places.

  2. Hans says:

    Hi Tom, good to see you found the courage to kick of your blog 🙂 I hope your trip, apart from the stings described above, moves on well and that you found, and will find, more wonderful people, places and events.
    As for me, I am back in the Netherlands trying to adapt to the flow of daily life here. Had a wonderful time in Poland btw, but this comment section is not meant to be a blog about co-travelers experiences :).
    We speak later, on FB perhaps. For now, good luck

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