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Just messing around with some pictures from Nashville, great city by the way! Check out my short video…hope you like it.

http://static.animoto.com/swf/w.swf?w=swf/vp1&e=1322774220&f=L099AxGXsFVHhXz09HtaZA&d=32&m=b&r=360p&volume=100&start_res=360p&i=m&options=

Make a video of your own at Animoto.

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Packed and ready?

I recently saw a TED talk on the disparity between memory and experience. The speaker argued that we live in our memories. Our present consists of our past memories, and our future is anticipated memories. We rarely live simply in our experiences.

I think we tend to travel like this, too. A lot of people travel to make memories instead of traveling to have an experience. The problem with this is you will come back from a trip with tons of photos and stories of things you did and saw, but no real experience of the culture, no real change of character, because your purpose at the start was not conducive to the serendipity that comes with travel.

Jiankou Great Wall

Of course, some people wonder…why travel at all?
 
 
I came across a poem by Elizabeth Bishop called “Questions of Travel:”

Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theaters?
What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework…

 We can give generic reasons here. It’s easy to ramble on about “oh, there’s so much to see,” and “oh, there’s so much to do,” but that’s equating travel with distraction, not purpose. It’s creating memories, not experiences.

Mursi Man, Ethiopia

Camel Seller, India

 

Why do I travel? What is my purpose? Well, I travel because I love learning. The world is a big place, and the thought of staying in one place for the rest of my life is agonizing. I travel to try new things, to explore new foods. Travel just tastes good.
 
Finally, I travel to experience the world! My photos and stories of places can only go so far. But my purpose will (I hope) enable travel to change me for the better.

A fisherman casting his net in Indonesia

Anyone want to give this a try?

Scenario: Imagine your next travel destination. Now what if I were to tell you that you would not be able to keep any of your photos, and you will have an “amnesia episode” to this trip. Would you still travel to the same location? Where is it and why? Why do you travel?

St. Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” Here’s to discovering what’s on the other pages …

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Travel spot: Ireland

Ireland

To Ireland We Go

I have personal connections to three locations in the world: South Africa (my home), Ireland (my dad’s lineage) and Greece (my mom’s lineage). While all three of these places currently have bad economies, they are also among the most beautiful places on earth, with people that are proud of their cultures’ idiosyncrasies. Today, I want to explore Ireland.

Ireland

My Granddad, a staunch Irishman, fought during World War II. He always told interesting stories of his time in the army. If you would indulge me for today, I would love to share some snippets of his stories because they typify an aspect of Irish personality.

During the war, Irish soldiers from a different regiment belligerently approached two West Kent men who had been deep in conversation at a restaurant. The Irish soldiers demanded, “What was that you said about Ireland?” Surprised one replied, “We did not even mention Ireland.” The rejoinder, “Oh, so you don’t think Ireland is worth mentioning then.”

Granddad was walking home one night in London after he had been demobilised, when he was accosted by two thugs, “Do you have a light?” one asked. He was not about to fall for that line so he took up a karate stance that he learned in unarmed combat training, “Yes I have a match.” he challenged. They turned and ran.

Granddad worked for the railways in London before immigrating to Northern Rhodesia. Three thugs were sitting on a bench on the railway platform ,and one tried to trip him. Granddad hopped over his leg and punched him. They all jumped up and prepared to attack when someone behind dad said, “Can I help?” “No, there are only three of them,” he replied. It was enough. They took to their heels and fled.

*Thugs may not be thieves, simply men of ill-form*

Irish Landscape: 

A plethora of peacefully striking natural wonder. There are no words to do this justice…

Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland

Blue and Green

Waterfall in Donegal, Ireland

Rolling Hills

Glens of Antrim North Ireland, Antrim county

Portballintrae, Bushmills, Coleraine Northern Ireland The Emerald Isle

Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland

Irish Personality

Colored Houses in Ireland

The Irish are notorious in many ways, with stereotypes ranging from their alcohol preferences and always being ready for a fight, to the images of luck and leprechauns. In Insight into the Irish personality, an Irishman describes a conversation with his friends at an old pub in Ireland. Talking about the Irish polite tendencies in their own country, someone mentioned how the Irish like to say what they think, while veiling it vaguely:

“Like neighbours you don’t even know seeing you after you haven’t shaved for a couple of days and then rubbing their chin, saying, ‘Have you no respect for your family?’”

My granddad was like this in that he spoke his mind, but not always with veiled insults.

Traveling:

Cottage in Ireland

I want to encourage my readers to explore the world, because you meet so many interesting people, with interesting stories who are just dying to share them with you. My Granddad fought well for his country, in brutal battles, and then moved to Africa. However he never stopped being an eccentric Irishman, and I miss him for that.

If you have any interesting stories you have heard from people who are not of your culture, I would love to hear them. Please share below.

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Childe Hassam painting Le Val-de-Grâce (1888)

In Alain de Botton’s book, the Art of Travel, reference is made to a character in J.K. Huysans’s 1884 novel, A Rebours. Duc des Esseintes lives a secluded life in the a villa on the outskirts of Paris, his misanthropic nature keeping him there. One day while reading Dickens, he is overcome with the urge to travel to London to experience the English life so prevalent in the book.
 
He packs his bags and catches the next train to Paris.

 

While waiting for the train to London, des Esseintes visits an English bookstore, a wine bar, and an English Tavern, experiencing a taste of what was to come.

 

Then the moments to depart came and des Esseintes was in Botton’s words ‘overcome with lassitude’. He abruptly changed his mind about going, believing that the journey’s hassles would simply not be worth the trip. “What is the good,” des Esseintes wondered, “of moving when a person could travel so wonderfully sitting in a chair.” He returned to his villa and never left home again. (11) (more…)

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