I've been trying to pay attention to my surroundings more. The small interactions between father and son in waiting rooms, an older man's excitement as he bird-watches, or even just the growth of vegetation. But it wasn't until I got back from my trip that I realized I was still far off.
On vacation, I live in a different mindset. Even with access to the internet, I don't think about reading or writing blogs, working on my novel, finding freelance jobs, or anything really serious. Each day is a day to explore everything around me and I absorb everything I can. One stark difference is my desire to explore and my constant use of my camera. Sure I use my cell phone camera all the time to take simple shots of random things. With my camera though, I really think about what I'm looking at and what I'm experiencing.
It could be an everyday event for the locals, eating at a restaurant they would be at any other night. But for me, it's a new town, a new restaurant I'll never return to. And chances are a moment with my partner who I don't see nearly enough. So I want to absorb it. I'm clearly the only one pulling out a camera the size of a small dog. In the moment, though, I don't care. The looks I might get, or the attention, doesn't phase me because I'm focused on the shot, the memory, or the people. It's something exciting or precious.
At home though, the camera can sit for months unused. All the while, any skill I might have gathered wilts away. I love photography and would be happy to gain the skill to really use it. With the limited amount of time I travel, I won't get there only waiting for these 'rare' times.
So maybe the amount of attention I have been giving to my 'normal' surrounding hasn't been enough. Or maybe my weekend spend inside obsessing over blogging, writing, or potentially becoming a freelancer, haven't been as productive as I thought. Raleigh isn't the most exciting place, but it isn't the worst. I just need to pay attention as well as I do on vacation. I mean, I have chairs here.
And there are older things,
and things I can practice over-dramatic editing on.
My partner and I do have Sunday mornings and a few hours at night together. I could even venture off alone, or with friends,...if I can push off the guilt of not being productive while my partner is at work. Or just the general pressure of doing something productive every moment of the day.
If the guilt, introvert-ness, or cheapskate personality does become too much though, there's always my cats to practice with.