These shots aren’t impressive to most, but they are special to me. You see, they were taken on my first overseas trip at the bright, young age of 24. Digital cameras had just hit the market; they were still considered a novelty reserved for the wealthy. And in my mid-twenties, I was anything but wealthy.
I saved for this 3-week trip across Europe for years. These shots were carefully rationed from the handful of film rolls I’d brought with me. I remember being limited in the number of photos I could take, the strength of the batteries in my Sony Discman, and the exorbitant cost of using a pay phone and my calling card to check in with my Mom. When we felt fancy, we’d check our email at a local internet cafe that only took coins. And you had to use coins; the credit card fees associated with international transactions were astronomical.
I still had so much to learn; about life, about traveling, about how to compose a shot. It’s the reason why all my photos of France, Italy, and Switzerland are so poor and grainy; I was young, and so was technology. But it doesn’t make the memories any less special. This trip was the one that lit my wanderlust flame and changed my life. I still plan to return to all the cities I visited when I was 24, and while I cannot wait to take some better photos, I will always treasure these off-center, poorly-exposed, grainy shots taken ages ago by a twenty-something whose mind had just been blown wide open to our great big world.