Rediscovering your curiosity after 60 years
ONE small step for Irene Zagoridis became a giant step towards personal self-discovery.
As a child Irene had completed her one and only overseas trip, so at 72-years-old it was a momentous event when she travelled from Sydney back to Greece earlier this year as part of the Canon Australia's bringyourcuriosity.com.au project.
So began the journey that pushed this conservative woman from the boundaries of her suburban street to a world-wide adventure. Now she talks about experiences that made her feel like a 'small girl again and takes every chance to encourage others to think about what they would like to do and then, no matter how slowly, move forward.
"I was born in Greece and came to Australia when I was nine," Irene said.
"I haven't travelled overseas in my lifetime, and haven't really been curious about what's out there either.
"I guess it's because everything in my life has been planned out, from my wedding and marriage, to my children and family."
But in a surprise move, Irene's daughter entered her in the Canon competition. And before she knew it, she was given an EOS M50 camera and set loose to experience Greece all over again.
"Going back there was such an unreal feeling," Irene said. "Growing up here you tend to lose that little bit of your nationality because you are full-on doing things here; this is my life and I am an Aussie, but born in Greece.
"When I went back it was just wow. It woke me up to what I really am about in a way."
Irene found every day there was something new to spark her curiosity. "I will never forget it as long as I live," Irene added.
"One of the days I photographed a couple dancing in a café and before I knew it, one of them invited me to his 30th birthday gathering. Through them, I also discovered a poppy field not too far away - it made me feel like a little girl again, running through my grandmother's farm.
"The whole experience was a special one for me, a dream come true. Using my camera also pushed me to see the world in a different way, something I had never done before."
Here at home Irene admits she previously tended to stick to her own suburb. "There is a lot of people like that, that don't venture outside of their circle," Irene said. "It becomes like a habit. But when I came back I thought it would be nice to start becoming more familiar with my own city."
Armed with her camera, Sydney's Botanical Gardens, the Manly Ferry and more are experiences that Irene now wants to enjoy and capture. "I am finding out about Sydney all over again," the happy traveller said. "When the weather improves I am definitely not going to stay home all the time."
Irene also spent a lot of time walking in Greece. That experience refreshed and reinvigorated her to keep walking since she returned home.
She took over 1000 photos in Greece. "You talk about curiosity; a photo just makes you want to keep taking photos because every single thing you capture, you look at and think, 'oh wow, I didn't do a bad job of that so I will take something else and do it a bit different'." Once Irene finishes collecting all her photos together she will have a family get-together to share her special journey.
To her friends Irene says, "if you can, do it". "Because we can't all do it. If you can't, think about what you would like to do and then slowly, slowly go forward towards it. It doesn't matter how long it's going to take, but at least you have interest, that feeling that I would really like to do that.
"I used to say, 'I should have'. I don't want to go there again. I would like to try and do, for a change."