Cameraless

Today most of us took a day trip to Cassis, France to go to a beach on the Mediterranean Sea. I decided that with the sand and potential lack of security, I didn’t want to bring either of my cameras (DSLR and point-and-shoot) with me. I packed a towel, a change of clothes, some snacks, water, money and my iPod. My iPod doesn’t have a camera on it, so I was sans camera for the entire day. This is a relatively new feeling for me, especially since it seems like I’ve had my camera with me everyday since the fourth grade when I got my first Kodak digital camera.

Anyway, my point is that I was feeling a little naked and perhaps a little exposed too. Usually I can use my camera as something to hide behind if I need to, and obviously that wasn’t going to be possible on this trip. Aside from not getting it full of sand and not getting it stolen, one of the reasons I didn’t bring a camera was because I’ve started to get the feeling that I live my life through my viewfinder. With my eye always behind a camera lens, I generally only experience what the camera can show me. I find it easy to overpass experiencing what’s happening around me because I am so busy trying to capture it as a memory.

I’ve started to try and change this about myself. I figured maybe if I experience life while it’s happening, my own memories might serve me better than the tons of pictures I take that I rarely look at again. This was my goal for today at the beach.

Therefore, in this post you will not find any photos. Of course, my classmates will blog later and post photos, so if my stories don’t convey the experience well enough, you’ll be able to see for yourself! Since I’m falling asleep as I write, and I know that Mandy is going to blog about our day too, here is the condensed version of the day.

We took two trains from Arles to get to Cassis. When we arrived in Cassis, we walked for 25 or 30 minutes downhill to get to the beach. It wasn’t a bad walk. We were in the shade most of the time, and although I almost twisted my ankle on flat ground, we arrived at the beach all in one piece. The sand was mostly flat, smooth rocks. The temperature was perfect. It was warm, but not hot. There was no humidity, which was a welcome change from Arles, and there was a nice breeze coming off the sea. It was interesting because it looked tropical, like Florida, but it definitely didn’t feel like it. We lathered up with sunscreen, set out our towels, and went to the water. The water was cold. My dad wouldn’t have even come close to putting a toe in it. But the longer we were in the water, the more adjusted we became to the temperature, and it began to feel good. I crossed “swim in the ocean” off of my bucket list today. Although I’ve seen the ocean and have put my feet in it before, today was the first day I completely submerged myself in it. Even though we technically swam in a sea, not the ocean, it was a body of salt water, so I count it as the same. If we really want to get technical, we were in a bay, but you get my point: it’s off the list.

No one prepared me for the mouthful of saltwater I was going to get even though my mouth was closed when I first dunked my head. I could have eaten an entire bucket of popcorn and still had salt leftover in my mouth after that. We took turns between sitting on the beach to watch our stuff and swimming in the water. A couple of us even went into town and had pastries for lunch. We returned to the beach with more than full stomachs (we each had three pastries we tried) and continued to enjoy the day. We lucked out with a free bus ride back up to the train station and arrived home a couple hours later.

Today was an amazing day, and although I can’t show you the beautiful sights that I saw, I accomplished my goal of experiencing life while it’s happening. Thanks for bearing with me through this post, I promise that pictures are on the way!

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