November 16, 2013
Two years ago I downloaded a little program named @Instagram that opened up a whole new avenue in my life. I found photography was a hidden, newly discovered passion just waiting to get unleashed. I began interacting with people all over the world and formed friendships with people I’ve never met. Some days, I couldn’t wait until I had time to hit “Refresh” on the program and see what was happening with my friends around the world. Many times on this trip I was finally able to put a face to the name of people I’ve interacted with for years. This last stop in Malang was no different. Arga, Haris and Leo are three people part of my group, or as we say “family” on Instagram. I’ve known them for over a year but never heard their voice nor met them in person. When they heard I was in Java, Indonesia, they were quick to not only want to meet up, but quick to invite me into their home to stay while in Malang, Indonesia. Therefore, the past three days I have been staying with them and their parents at their home. I have gone from home to home as each are so eager to host me. I have ate authentic Indonesian food and met their extensive family who are so kind and eager to meet this “Bule” (Westerner) in their country. They have taken me on some EPIC adventures zipping at high speeds through traffic on motorbike to get to remote destinations to take photos. One day was a two hour ride to the beach and the following was a expedition to Mount Bromo, an active volcano in East Java. These guys are talented. The things they can create with their DSLR Cameras is astonishing. I have had such a great time speaking about photography all day long. I have learned so much about even my own camera and things I didn’t realize it could do. I thought since I don’t have a DSLR I couldn’t do certain things but they proved me wrong. It’s been so much fun. This is the first time I have been able to spend days with someone who also enjoys my passion as back home I don’t know anyone else obsessed like myself. Back at home I was actually somewhat shy about my photography interests since it wasn’t common around my social circle. I felt like a nerd. One thing I have learned this trip is life is to fucking short to spend time with insecurities. Anything you are insecure about, whether it’s hobbies, your laugh, your weight or your past.. Time is wasted being insecure about them. They are part of you and it’s best to just embrace ALL of them and love them because they are a part of you and everyone is perfect in their own way. Obviously what I speak of trickles down to other things than just photography but it was a nice segue.. Yesterday standing at the top of Mount Bromo, looking into the volcano, smelling the sulfur and hearing it roar was a powerful experience for me. The earth is so powerful and right in front of me is a giant hole into the great abyss. I was told it is also considered a sacred mountain amongst the Hindus. The energy on this place was captivating. While I was standing there I couldn’t help but think of our friend Oliver, who we all lost earlier this year. It’s been a difficult year for everyone. As I stood there, I felt his presence. I could hear his laugh, see his smile and hear his voice. My body tingled and I just felt him there with me. It started at my feet and worked its way to my head. I truly believe he was there. The feeling overcame me I couldn’t control my emotions. It was so overwhelming. So special. So pure. Therefore, I did what I always say I would never do. I picked up a rock and carved OCP, Oliver’s initials, in the paint at the top of Bromo. The rain will surely wash it away but for now it leaves his mark. After I was done with the rock I came across a particular dilemma. Do I keep the rock used for carving or do I throw it into the volcano? Half of me wanted to keep it, hold on to it and never let go. I wanted its physical presence to remember this moment. However, at the end I kissed the rock, told him how much WE all loved him.. and chucked the rock into the smokey abyss. Sometimes letting go is the hardest part.