A few questions I've been thinking about:
- what will I do on the trip?
- how will I keep in touch with everyone?
- how will I get souvenirs for everyone?
- how will I document this trip?
- can I do something on this trip that might have relevance to the rest of my life?
Here's a thought. What if I keep an email rolodex of folks who I'd like to send things to, and every so often, send someone a moment. A moment is a photo with a short or long bit of text, telling them something that happened that day. I'm thinking something like this. Key characteristics:
- it's a tiny slice that you can't get in a postcard. No "omg the taj mahal is so beautiful". More "the trucks here all say "horn do" and have brilliant paint" or "this guy tried to sell me a beard" or the "three cultures meet, we share half a language, and we all need gas" story.
- it's ethereal. After sending it, I delete the photo. I don't post the photo or description anywhere else. This memory is only yours.
I see two main pluses. First, it keeps my eyes and ears and wits about me. If I'm looking for great moments in current life right now, I'll get more out of the trip than if I'm always thinking about my next step.
Second, I can't say why, but the ethereality of it is pleasing. Back in the day, I might mail you a photo. Then you have it and I don't; all I have is the memory. Nowadays, nothing is transient. Everything is on the internet forever and for everyone. This would be a chance to create something new for you in particular. And creating a one-time thing is new for me; I wonder what would happen. Finally, maybe I would have to invest more here-and-now mental energy in it instead of offloading the memory to "later."
I'm a little torn on the ethereality. Part of me says I should just publish this all in a blog instead. You can't go back and record your memories later; they're gone. And I somewhat obsessively record the rest of my life, so why not this trip too? It would let me reflect accurately on myself and my trip's progression, if nothing else.
So say I do just blog everything. Then do I just email friends and family and say "I was thinking of you when I wrote this post"? Seems cheesy. Maybe I just keep in touch with people and also keep a blog, same as it ever was.
So, in summary, the questions are:
- what sort of things should I record? (I've mostly answered this, and the answer is, I know what I want to record. "Moments" is the closest I'd have to a guiding phrase here.)
- ethereal to one person each or all in a big blog? (I'll ponder this.)
Finally, one more unrelated question:
- should I go through North India backwards? That is, start in say Ladakh and head East, as opposed to Bhutan and head West? Signs point to yes, because I may not be able to get to Ladakh in November, and it's maybe the #2 place I want to go. Thanks to Couchsurfing friend Anutham for the tip.