At the beginning of every year, in some random moment of inspiration, I always reach for the nearest piece of paper – a receipt, a Mcdonalds napkin, an empty page of the travel guidebook I’m devouring – and scribble a list of things I want to achieve that year on it. In past years, my lists have included things as simple as making a snowman and some more complicated ones, like touching the Pacific ocean, or finishing my first novel.
My lists are not really New Year resolutions – they’re plans, and while some have been bounced from one list to the next for a few years, I always manage to achieve them, eventually.
Life has been a bit weird lately, and I am sad to say that I haven’t been as happy as I want to be, for various reasons. But when life seems especially tough, I just pick up that list, and see what I have achieved, or remember what I am working hard to achieve, and things, somehow, fall into perspective and start making sense again.
Case in point, my photo travel wall. I’ve wanted one ever since I settled here in Australia, and this year, I wrote in on my list. I want take some of my best travel photos (colour coordinated, of course), one from every country I’ve visited (turns out I couldn’t fit three of them – Slovakia, Holland and New Zealand, sorry but I need a bigger wall!) and turn them into canvas prints like so….
From Top left to right: A couple strolling along Seminyak Bali, a piece of the Berlin wall, Winter in Switzerland, Marsaxlokk Malta, a boy behind the National Gallery London, the Hofburg Vienna, a bathing box on Brighton beach Melbourne, a Buddhist temple in Seoul, a Peranakan facade in Singapore, Castle Hill Budapest, a Turkish cat in Istanbul, women at work Hoi An Vietnam
Today, me and Boyfriend spent a zillion hours putting masking tape on the wall, then meticulously measuring the spots where we needed to place each hook at with correct spacing, then hanging the sticky hooks, only to realise that some of our measurements were wrong, then repositioning some of the hooks, removing the masking tape, hanging the pictures, and obsessively compulsively trying to get them straight. And then, while Boyfriend went on to do other things, I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at that photo wall, because it is beautiful and it represents memories which are very special to me, and because looking at it was making me happy and helping me forget things in my life which were making me sad.
And then I was overcome by a deep sense of calm, because I realised that changing the things which were making me sad need not be approached any different that turning a blank wall into something beautiful – everything can be a project on which one can work until one gets it right, and if messing up the measurements of a photo wall is nothing to stress about – one just removes the masking tape and does it again – then why should fixing messed up bits of life be any different? I just need to fix that as well, no dramas or stress needed.
Life is one massive project, and sometimes when I look around me I realise that I keep forgetting that I am not doing that badly, and that I’m further into ‘completing’ that gigantic project called life than I actually think.
It’s just a travel photo wall, but it’s so much more than just a travel photo wall.
-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @www.theartofslowtravel.com