So, that’s it for traveling so far. I’m glad I did it, I’m glad to end my travels here at this point. A point where I have a lot of new energy to do what I love to do. Faith and believe in myself and my work will guide me from now on. Its not to deny that some things have changed after traveling alone for a long period of time. I am still the same Florian as I was before though, but my attitude to several things has changed. First, I became even more of an all rounder, personality wise. Back in Germany I avoided many kind of people instead always hanged out with people I thought they are a ‘really good match’ from my point of understanding. I figured out that they were many reasons I always had something to complain about anybody, because I always had something to complain as well. I am burning to find out about myself and what I am made of. I am sure you can learn something from everyone, you just need to let people come close to you and listen. Although it seems to be there is nothing you can learn from somebody, you realize it a couple of months or years later. Now I’m interested in any kind of people and turn the way I am into the way towards those people. That guarantees me in most of the cases an easy access to peoples’ life and their point of view. You might think I am more acting now than being myself and there is something true about it. I do not become somebody else, I am still me. I just arrange my interests a little and the way I behave. For a long time I thought about, no I searched intense, for my REAL personality, since my character has so many faces. Now, I discovered that my personality is diverse by itself. I can’t imagine why it took me such a long time to figure out. So either I became an acteur through acting all the time or I was born as one already anyways.
Than again I think, I do never act and I am sure if I would ask 20 people do write 10 characteristics about me, a lot of them would match. So I am only myself and there is only one Florian. But through photography I learned to pay more attention to my environment, people, situations, landscape, whatever, learned how to look closer, have a second look. And through developing my sensibility of where I am and with who I am, I get attached to what I am paying attention on and melt into the situation. Is that understandable ?!
The desire and time to tell others about my stories in life became less and less. Yes, I still like to tell people, but some people have such an enormous need to tell others about their stories, that it would be more like a battle of who has the better experiences instead of reaching a point of ‘conversation’. And in order to make the other one happy, I let it be. The more I listen to people the more they tell and it always surprises me when I meet some dudes on my trip who have actually questions about me and my travels and my life, without refer to their life after a few words and come up with their stories. I developed a good sense of when to say something and when just to listen and nod. I am able to enjoy this kind of people now, since I am able to explore this world through peoples’ stories, because this world is made of people right ?! I also could see it from an egoistic point of view: I know all my own stories already, of course I do, so I do not getting anything new out of when telling them. Maybe some other people would, but I would never be that arrogant to say that my experiences could help somebody else. So, from a boy who always tried to get attention I became more somebody who enjoys to stay anonymous and leave after a chat again.
From doubts to who I am, related to what I do, I’m confident now what I do, because I came closer to who I ‘am’. My diversity in my personality has its finger prints for sure in the photographs I take. And even though I created a certain style of pictures, I think they shouldn’t be a certain style: Every situation is different and it wouldn’t suit to always keep the same style. For sure they are certain interests I have, connected to find certain topics and situations, which reveals a certain style. My style. So with my style its more or less the same as it behaves to who I get along with other people. The fact I travelled to so ‘many’ countries in such a ‘short’ time created a certain way I deal with this constant change. To get into it as quick as possible, get into the same habits as the people, try to learn the language and whatever. Get more worldly if you want to give it a name. I can manage the change well now. One example: I came here to Varkala, in the south of India, a 100% tourist place I never been before on my travel. I hate it, felt wrong to be here and thought seriously about going straight away back to the train station to carry on. After one day, I was O.K. with it. The key to feel comfortable is to accept everything as it is. And to have no expectations helps a lot. I tell myself, that is the place and its a part of this world to. According to a principal I have now: Never say no to things you have an expectation of, but didn’t experienced it by yourself. I know not much and need to learn every day. My key to be confident at any times.
Through this diversity I am more able to relax from stressed situations and o travel can be stress. To calm down from it takes me only 24 to 48 hours where I needed a week before. The same way it behaves with the change from relaxed to busy situations. Through traveling I got used to the change by itself. I repeat myself now.
My sometimes aggressive search for perfect pictures is related to my more often appearing effort for a perfect body and outer appearance. Yes, I am vain, so are my pictures, but now I can handle it and before my travels I couldn’t. And I guess the more I work on taking photographs, the more I work subconsciously on myself. I allow myself many mistakes though, since those are the ones who make me think about myself and what I do. I wasn’t really happy the way I have been before my travels and I do like myself now and some people are actually able to see that through the pictures I take. Through photography I became really confident and sure. Before I pretended to be confident and sure. That’s what I tried to express with my quote on my website: “Photography is not only a beautiful way to explore our world, it also gives us a great chance to explore ourselves.”
And yes, you see the photographers personality through his pictures. It can be like an open book sometimes.
I feel like explaining now why I think that to be a photographer is the best I can do in live. Photography is about taking pictures, that’s for sure and simple to understand. But the more I take pictures, the more I figure out how unimportant the actual process of taking the picture. Photography in my understanding (the way I take my pictures) requires to be somebody who understands the soul of a situation fast, who builds up something like a relationship (trust) with the people in a couple of minutes, interact with the situation instead of just being an observer. I can be creative, I can move my body, I can hold something in my hands, I am dealing with what this world is made of: people. There is no better job than going through this world with an open mind and open eyes. I am still not that far to say that my pictures are always about this topic or that issue. Maybe there are already but it is meant to be worked out from the people who look at my pictures. Instead of trying to understand who I am with pressure and take pictures with this new understanding, I just take pictures when I feel like taking them. Maybe because I understood that there is never a ‘Me’, since I am always changing. Through people i am with and through cultures I am in. And looking back to a photography journey of 18 month shows me a lot how I changed. Very interesting. Back in Hamburg, I’ve been never home and tried to stay away from moments where I would have to spend too much time with myself. That didn’t give me much of an opportunity to discover myself and my interests and explore who I am. No wonder I switched jobs and interests like underwear (I actually change underwear more often). Photography is now for sure something I will do for long. I feel it. I just know it. The more I do it, the more I get crazy and interested in. I enjoyed my time alone now, I really did and it brought me an inner peace which will remain for longer (I hope), who knows what happens next in life. But I needed to be in extremes to find my middle way. I would say I am an extreme person and to find a middle way I have to live through extreme periods of my life.
Sometimes I felt incredible lonely and I guess that’s one of the reasons I cried out of the blue twice on my trip. The other reason was happiness, which was more a tear bringing goose bump. But even here: As i know from the movie ‘Into the wild’ and through my own experiences: “No happiness when not shared”. Therefore happiness can sometimes turn into the feeling of being lonely. I need people (we all do I guess) around me and I am looking forward to stay in a community again instead of a daily Hi-and-Bye life. Without people I can see myself less clear and can’t figure out what I am made of. No container, no contained substance.
In the beginning of my trip I tried to avoid to hang out with Germans, since I had the feeling I know ‘Germans’ already anyways and there is nothing more to explore anymore. I’m happy to be smart enough though to figure out that mostly I tried to avoid myself, since I am German as well. I meet Germans while traveling with pleasure now, discover Germany’s people as I discovered other countries’ people. I look forward to come back and have the time to meet new interesting people and their stories in Germany. Although my interest is honestly mostly related to photography reports. It wasn’t much a difference when meeting people from other countries though. Photography opens up my heart and assures me a long life open minded way of dealing with my world … and Germany. It is just another country in this world, with its people I go along well and less well.
Many people I met though said that I am the first german they meet who is not ‘typically German’. Whatever that means I have to find out in Germany. Be open minded to Germany. And: I know there should never be something like a categorizing thought towards people from certain countries. But it would be a lie as well to say that people from certain countries do not match a certain pattern. Exceptions prove the rule.
I am lucky enough again I was born into a family and grew up with my mother Marieluise, my elder brother Leonard and my younger sister Saskia. After I left home with 19 I tried to be more distant from my family and it didn’t have much of an interest anyways. I bet its nothing special after 19 years living next door to each other and have a break for a while. There was always a connection between my family and I, but it mostly contained only the most necessary and dry conversations.
Cut. On thing I learned is that family is more important as I used to think and my growing wish for an own family shows the origin of where I am from and what formed me even more clear. Nobody knows you that long, nobody else could give me so much trust and and love but also nobody else could make me so upset sometimes as my own family. I am made of those people and its going to be interesting to find out more about them. Not for any reason, the mothers come way before the girlfriend in South-East Asian countries, Pakistan and India in terms of ranking in importance. Well, yeah I learned my lesson again. Lets see what I can make out of this new feeling for family in Germany.
The end of my traveling is the beginning of a confident and happy life, with no more doubts about myself and what I do.
Actually I wanted to say something more deep, but whatever, I wrote what I wrote.