Some things are not meant to be photographed. Some things require you to be present. For you to have a direct link between it, your eye, your memory.
I minored in photography in college. I will always remember one piece of advice my favorite instructor gave:
"Be sure you don't always experience the world from behind your camera."
If you put the camera down, you are requiring yourself to engage, to see, to keep. On this trip, I took many photographs, some of those you can find on this blog. I have a lot of good ones, a few great ones, and one or two worth printing and framing. That's a decent photo ratio.
But there are some things I didn't get a photo of. And that is ok. I got the moment. The memory.
I don't have photos of polar bears. Too far away and too weak a lens. Taking Northern Lights pictures would have been impossible on the moving train leaking light pollution. And the stars... the stars...
I was only ever meant to gaze in wonder and remember.
If you take a photo of something amazing, it is wonderful and fun to look at it and reminisce.
But if you require yourself to call up a memory--to revisit a moment stored in your mind--you experience so much more. You can remember the sounds around you. The taste of the air. The surge of feelings you had.
When you look at a photograph, you remember where it was taken. When you recall a memory, you remember what happened. How you interacted with the universe at that moment.
Photos are beautiful. Memories are invaluable.