Back in 2004 (high school days), at a car show in Corning, New York, I saw a Lotus Elise for the first time outside of Gran Turismo. (Wait, don’t go, I’m not writing out my life story, I promise!) It was somewhere around there (maybe a little before or after) that I got it in my head that I wanted to buy an Elise someday, and drive it on racetracks. Racetracks like the Nürburgring (which I also learned about through Gran Turismo).
Somewhere around 2008, I decided I’d like to try working and living in Europe sometime, because that’s where most of the cool racing happened, and there was just a lot I wanted to do over
In 2016, I took this photo:
I had just stopped for a quick photo-op on the way back from hiking in the Ardennes, to try and take a picture that would neatly encapsulate my current situation.
At the time, it was just an item on a todo list. “Buy groceries; Do laundry; Go hiking; Take life-defining photograph; Don’t take too long because you have work in the morning.” It was only looking at it afterword that I realized how significant it was. It’s a perfectly succinct visual confirmation that I’m actually here. I own a Lotus Elise, and I live in Europe. Imagine if I could have seen this picture ten years ago!
And then three days later, I recorded this video [no sound because reasons]:
Driving on the Nürburgring! In my very own Elise! Incredible!
In the moment, it’s easy to forget that I’ve done something amazing. I took the dreams I had for a decade or more, and turned them into reality. The process just takes so long, it becomes a gradual build-up and there’s no specific moment when it goes from just a dream to full reality. The day I accepted the job, I had lots of paperwork to do. The day I landed in Belgium, I didn’t have my car. The day I got my car, I was sick and just wanted to get back home.
Almost every day brings another menial task to accomplish, like spending an entire day going on a terrible bureaucratic scavenger hunt just to find the next piece of paper I need to get my car registered. When I’m on a schedule and there’s always something lame to get done by tomorrow or next week, I tend to overlook the beauty of the amazing things I’m doing in between. I take photos so I can savor the moment later, when I have the time.