Train rides always make me think and analysis everything. It must be watching the world go by and having time to sit and do nothing, without having to apologise or justify it. Luckily (I’m definitely not always this optimistic) I spend hours on trains, so get to mind-wander frequently.
Currently, I’m travelling from Sunderland to Grantham after a flying visit back to my university city to move around some prints for an upcoming exhibition. The building I spent my 3 years studying in has been sold and the whole photography department has moved to a more modern, central location, robbing any trips of nostalgia I want to make in future years.
Walking to catch up with friends in town took me along the same route I walked to uni, unlike my expectations I didn’t feel nostalgic. I felt like I had never left and just gone to my parents for the weekend. Instead I have graduated, moved out and spent 3 months away. Strangely I look forward to the days I visit Sunderland, walk towards Ashburne and notice all the details I had forgot, reminding me of significant days I’d spent stressing and planning on my route.
I’m hopeful in these brief moments of deja vu, I will be transported back to my final year state-of-panic I lived in for 9months, and how mentally stimulated and focused I was at achieving my goal, no matter what the consequences. Because revisiting Sunderland has made me miss University properly for the first time. Travelling backwards across the dark countryside back home, I worry I’ll never feel the same levels of stimulation, belonging, determination and passion which I felt during my last year in Sunderland.
The lecturers have new students to concentrate on and the darkrooms I lived in have been broken down to nothing, my friends have moved around the world and I’m heading back to the same bedroom I was sitting in when I was accepted into university over 3 year ago. But I’m so far removed from the person I was then, and a huge part of that is my new found passion for photography, and the desire to leave my mark on the Earth using just a camera
This is the view of Ashburne as it stood on my last ever day I spend there as an undergraduate.