Memories: The Currency of Our Lives

Chris Michel and a camel friend

Memories are the currency of our lives. Those special moments where the brain saw fit to record something forever are the building blocks that make up our remembered past. For many of us, the brain's parsimonious nature seems to record time with less fidelity as we age. What happened in 2004? 2006? Do we remember a hundred things? A thousand? Ten? We can count on our brains to record those things that are critical to our survival - the exciting, the new, the dangerous, the touching, etc. As children, almost everything falls into one of those categories - those endless summers where a single day's adventure lasts forever. But, as we age, experiences often migrate from the new to the familiar and, eventually, end up as routine. And the routine has a slim chance of being remembered, except in the aggregate. Thus, when we look back on those days, we often can't remember much...time seems to have flown by.

Chris Michel in Bhutan

All is not lost! We have the opportunity to bring back that "child's mind" of discovery, growth, novelty and lush memories. Unlocking this secret is incredibly straightforward: change things up. Try something new every day. Vary your routine. Or, even better, go on an adventure! A decade ago, I ran into a friend who had just returned from biking through Vietnam. He went on and on about all the things he saw and did every day. I couldn't believe his stories. It was as if each day was as eventful as a month back home. That's when I had the epiphany: I could slow down my life by traveling more. And I'm here to tell you that it works. In 2008, I left my full-time job in technology to become a photographer. And I've been on the road ever since...traveling about half the year, taking pictures and creating memories.

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. - T.S. Eliot

I've also had the great fortune of getting to know a company called Backroads. They're an active-travel company (biking, hiking, multisport) that runs incredible trips all over the world. They've been my "magic carpet" along this adventure. From the rural streets of Hoi-An to the mountains of Peru, I've been on 14 of their trips. I can't thank them enough for a decade of incredible memories. Here are just a few: [gallery link="file" ids="3364,3358,3363,3356,3353,3351,3366,3365,3362,3348,3350,3347,3355,3352,3357,3349,3354,3359,3361,3360,3346"]  

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