Now that we have our own website and are free to post anything we want, I’ve been going back through all of the tours Rachael and I have shared together and begun posting them here. For some of these tours in the past I maintained a pretty decent journal; but for a number of them there are only shards to work with. Either no written journal at all, or an incomplete one that fizzled out partway through the tour when I lost motivation. A set of photographs of varying quality, mostly unlabeled, that have filed away in boxes, albums or backup drives, unviewed for years. Occasionally, maps or souvenirs to help firm up details of our itinerary or trigger a memory. And our weak and aging memories, growing fainter year by year.
This has been a pretty laborious, painstaking, and frustrating activity. It has brought up some strong, conflicting emotions in me: the joy of reliving memories Rachael and I haven’t thought of for years, coupled with the frustration and sense of loss I feel for the significant gaps that exist. There are so many lost experiences and details, ones that I’m sure at the time we felt like would live with us for the rest of our lives. Why did I give up on maintaining some of these journals? Couldn’t I have at least kept notes of highlights, or made comments on the photos before filing them away in the archives?
Our tour of Corsica and Provence in 2003 is a prime example. This was one of our most memorable tours, and it’s one we remember and talk about together more than many others. I maintained a detailed journal for it’s first week and kept a decent photo log for the entire tour. It has been a delight to revisit this experience, reliving vignettes recorded at the time that I haven’t thought about in years. This first week in Corsica had a real magic to it that won’t come again, and I feel grateful that I kept a decent account of it.
But, in Calvi the journal abruptly ends without explanation. Maybe the days were too long and I was tired in the evening; or maybe the oppressive heat got the better of me; or maybe I lost the motivation due to writing for no other audience than myself. For the rest of the tour I’m left with just the photos, and whatever memories have stayed with us for the last 14 years.
Fortunately, for this tour there were many such highlights; and some of them were so brilliant that they still burn bright in our memories and are sufficient to tell a story. The ride from Calvi to Porto on the first day after the written journal ends is one of these – special, unique, and really unforgettable. See for yourself.