With video cameras, YouTube, iPods, mp3, amplification and all that technical complexity, it is possible, and perhaps even affordable, for many people to continue to experience the sounds of their travels as well as the sights. We can see and hear the places we have not yet visited, just by watching television documentaries and going online. Even hotel rooms can be virtually explored before we enter them to sleep.
So, is there any point in travelling nowadays? Are there any pleasant surprises on your excursions to new places or is everything becoming so familiar through pre-trip research that you may as well save your money and stay home?
We can taste foods from around the world just by looking at the local restaurant guides in our nearest cities and making a booking for something unusual. Aromas from various ethnic food shops and markets can enliven our senses and our palates whenever a diverse range of people have migrated to where we live.
Since the early 1990s, it has been unnecessary to purchase souvenirs on holiday, except to assist a local economy directly. Many craft items from around the world can be found in your nearest fair trade stores and charity shops. Some have even made their way into department stores, though those items will probably have been made on a factory scale.
I live in Australia, one of the most culturally diverse places on earth, especially in the cities. Such diversity is not often expressed in the architecture here. There is often pressure to conform to the perceived norm of suburban blandness yet underneath the materialist surface, there is great cultural richness. Why, then, do so many Australians wish to travel elsewhere? Many have relatives in other countries. Many travel to where they do not have relatives. Perhaps the latter are in search of experiences within more interesting architecture than we have here.
Perhaps Australians appreciate the meaning and pleasure of being at home much more after they have travelled. Is it the same where you live?
Understanding the world
Do we really have a better understanding of the world when we travel? Is understanding more about depth than a few days between hotel rooms can provide? Is your curiosity satisfied enough already? Are you unsure how to understand the world better, or even whether such understanding is a worthwhile pursuit?
Who you are might have something to do with how we cope when you are away from familiar surroundings and familiar people. If you have been reading my Ancestors Within blog, you will perhaps know about my search for the mill in Ossolaro and the musical heritage of the person I married. If you have read my By Any Other Name blog, you will know something about my research into many aspects of identity. Is your sense of identity challenged at all when you travel?
This Continual Journeys blog may indicate to you that I intend to write here about travelling through time as well as space, and about travelling into my own mind and the minds of others.
Are history and music a part of your travels? If you have looked through a few blogger profiles, perhaps some of the musical tastes you have encountered there have been unfamiliar to you. Have you tried listening to the music online, to discover more?
Other musical journeys
In my travels around the world, I have sought out interesting musical experiences, from a Peña or two in Bolivia and Peru; the musical accompaniment to wedding processions in India; recitals in churches in Rome, Venice and London; the traditional music and dances of Zimbabwe; opera performances in the Roman arena in Verona and at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, traditional performances of music and dance in Bali and Java, brass bands in Austria, as well as a lot of international musical experiences at festivals in Australia.
The Mill in Ossolaro - part three
If you have been following this story in my Ancestors Within blog, you will be familiar with the name of Amilcare Ponchielli, the 19th century Italian composer. Ponchielli was a major inspiration to other composers, including Mascagni and Giordano, and especially Puccini. The mill in Ossolaro is (or was) near Cremona. A major town to the north of Cremona is Bergamo, where Donizetti was born. Just to the south of Cremona, over the Po, is Busseto and its nearby village of Le Roncole, birthplace of Giuseppe Verdi.
Would you like to continue reading this blog? If so, please leave comments on any of the posts here, and perhaps even send me an email - writetovia AT gmail . com - I look forward to hearing from you!