I’m so uninspired here that it is even difficult for me to get inspired to write a blog post on being uninspired!
For the past two weeks in Santo Domingo, I have had just about zero interest in using my camera. At first I used the excuse that it was too dangerous to be carrying it around. Then I would see lots of tourists carrying around similar cameras and knew that in Zona Colonial I would be fine. Then I convinced myself that it was too heavy and just too much of a pain to carry around. Well, this is true, but I do it all the time at home! Then I started saying to myself … There’s not much to take photos of here, it is all architecture and architecture just isn’t my thing.
After a week of excuses, finally I decided that I would take my camera out one day when I had a friend with me so that I wouldn’t be carrying it around alone. He and I spent the day wandering around Zona Colonial and the Malecon, but it rained a lot and I ended up keeping my camera in my bag just about the entire time. That day I think I took about 7 or 8 pictures total.
I was particularly discouraged because I had felt like I forced myself to take my camera and then it still didn’t work out so I was double annoyed! This meant that I then felt even less like taking my camera out again!
That next week, I began to realize that all of these things were adding up and I started to analyze what was going on. All of a sudden I realized that I obviously needed a break from photo taking … and that you can’t force inspiration … you can’t force yourself to have a passion or to love something. So, if I didn’t feel like taking photos, I’d just have to leave my camera behind, at least for now.
On my second Friday in Santo Domingo, we were having an excursion with the school to the market. I love markets, the colors and the people in them, so I decided it would be a good day to give my camera another chance. Although it was a real pain to cart it around in a backpack because of the heat, I did take some photos at the market that I liked. And, I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the artists at work. I only wish I could have conversed with them better to hear their stories. Maybe near the end of my trip I’ll feel more confidant and I’ll head back to speak with them again.
After having taken photos at the Market though, I was still uninspired. I had taken a few photos, but I was ready to put my camera away again. But, why?
I’ve never been the type of person to snap a million photos of everything. I’m a choosy person. I take pictures that have meaning of some kind and if I don’t feel that it will be a good photo, I don’t bother taking it. I think this stems from the fact that it takes so long to cull and edit photos. I would rather just have photos that I like rather than a whole bunch of random useless photos that I will never use.
I think there are two big parts to my lack of inspiration …
1. I think I really need a break from work. For a long time I’ve realized that I turned my hobby into a business and now it is business and not a hobby. So, to some extent (although it isn’t quite this simplistic), I feel like if I’m not being paid to take photos, that I don’t want to do it. Every time I pick up a camera it is like work for me, so to always be taking photos means I would always be working! It is a shame, but I can’t seem to take photos just for me any more because I cannot separate it from work.
2. I also think that I really just don’t love Santo Domingo. I think back to when I traveled to New Orleans for a photo conference in 2010. From the moment I arrived in the city I felt liberated, free, inspired and alive. I couldn’t wait to take my camera everywhere and document the art and life of the city. Santo Domingo does not give me the warm fuzzies like New Orleans did.
I guess that is one of the downfalls of having not done a huge amount of research on the city before deciding to study here. I was aware it was 3 million people large and steeped in history, but I didn’t do much research on what it was like to live here. I just assumed that I would find it interesting once I arrived. I mean really, it is a huge city. There has to be something for everyone right? Well, maybe I just have been too lazy in the extreme heat and humidity to go look for it, but regardless, I haven’t found ‘it’ here yet.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change my decision though. I wouldn’t have chosen anywhere else to study. I don’t hate Santo Domingo, I just don’t love it here. I enjoy school. I like the culture and the people, but somehow, I just don’t like this particular city.
So, what am I going to do about it?
I’m going to change things up. The really great thing about this trip and about traveling solo is that I’m doing this all for me. I have no one to please but myself and I can choose to go whenever and however I want. So, do just that, I will!
I decided to look into changing school locations for my last week of classes. I have confirmed that the sister school in Sosua has room for me in class and in a school apartment, so Sunday, August 5th, I will head out on a three and a half hour bus ride to the opposite side of the island, through the mountains to reside in Sosua for a week. I’m very excited for several reasons …
1. It is a much smaller place, so I look forward to a slower pace, less noise and less traffic.
2. It is a beach town and right now, in this incredible heat, I need sand and ocean to cool off and relax.
3. I hear it is absolutely beautiful in Sosua and surrounding areas of Puerto Plata and Cabarete. I’m hoping that nature will rejuvenate me and encourage my passion.
4. There are many more options for excursions in and around Sosua, including the possibility of learning to kite surf. I’ll look into that when I arrive!
I also decided that I will go to La Romana on Friday to get my first glimpse of a different and smaller city. It’ll be a two-hour bus ride each way, but it will be nice to be in the air conditioning and local buses are always an adventure! While I’m there I might have time to visit a beach (I hope), as well as head out for some dancing on the “George Street” of La Romana that they call The Boulevard. I’m hoping to like this city enough to make it my home-base for the last two weeks of my stay in the Dominican as I’ve decided that I don’t want to stay in Santo Domingo.
I will return to Santo Domingo Saturday afternoon in preparation for the concerts and dancing of the Merengue festival taking place in the city on Saturday and Sunday. Sadly, I won’t get to enjoy the festival on Sunday as I will be heading off to Sosua, but I suspect after dancing the night away on Friday and Saturday my hips will likely be too sore to function for Sunday dancing anyway!
So, from uninspired to aspiring to be inspired … off I go in search of something more!