July 24, 2008

Travel Photo Retouching Before Bed
Zakopane, Poland

I'm having a hard time keeping current on my travelogue—a problem that I fear won't remedy itself anytime soon. My days are very full, and certainly much different than they were a year ago.

When I traveled by myself, there was plenty of time to write. I'd wake up whenever, move, explore, experience, and spend an hour or three writing in the evenings before I went to bed. I love composing entries (especially when there's nothing to do but sit alone in my room), but even when I'm in the mood, it takes concentration and time to rev my brain up, reflect, and write.

When I traveled with a pregnant Tatiana for a handful of months in SE Asia, I had a hard time adapting her company to my writing style. This is an excellent outlet that helps me to organize my thoughts about a place, or vent when something's bothering me. With Tatiana around full-time I had a means with which I could voice my frustrations and speculate about or laugh at odd cultural quirks.

Because I didn't need to write a travelogue entry to get it off my chest, I found myself forgetting or neglecting to invest the time and energy into writing. I had to work hard at setting aside personal time away from her to just sit and type.

Now that I've got Tatiana plus a six-month-old in tow, my days are very full, and very tiring. Getting everyone ready and out the door for an afternoon out is a laborious process in itself—as is the assembly of the baby's support bag, heavy and bulky with the items needed to take care him during our outings.

We'll usually spend no more than four or five hours out of the room, and come back ragged. The combination of dealing with (and carrying around an 18-pound) Aidric, plus inclement weather, plus absorbing and processing all the new sights, smells, sounds, and tastes that normally accompany fulfilling travel is a lot to manage.

The simple truth is there isn't enough time, energy, or opportunity to write regularly enough to make me (or you) happy.

I've discovered that I absolutely can't write when Aidric is awake, or within earshot. He squeals with delight when he's happy, and shrieks with anger when he's not. And somewhere in between the 5–7 a.m. wakeup call, dirty diapers, making baby food, feeding baby food, hunting for and translating baby supplies, play time, bath time, and everything else, I try to have some Craig and Tatiana time. Hell, if we can spend an entire hour alone together, without one of us messing with the kid, that's a good day.

So with Aidric going to bed around 9 or 10 at night, and me having zero energy to focus or stay up much more than two or hours past his bedtime, I find my much enjoyed writing slipping—sacrificed to other priorities, and lack of opportunity.

Photography is still a passion of mine though, and I'm still taking dozens upon dozens of photos each day. And while writing requires me to rev up and focus, I can sort through images and retouch those that will eventually be posted to Travelvice with distractions present. Many photos mean many little stop and start task milestones. And because it's something relaxing that I can do as I'm winding down for an evening, I'm finding myself spending more and more time focusing on the photos I'm uploading.

The end result is probably going to be fewer travelogue posts, and more refined photography. You may have noticed.

I hope that with time Aidric will allow both of us to take back some of our day, and I'll once again have personal time to write, instead of playing a seemingly nonstop game of tag-team baby care.

…But in the meantime, enjoy the photos.

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