This vacation I have taken time to reflect; one has this opportunity whilst standing in the midst of kilometers of sandy beaches on the threshold of a tossing ocean. On this vacation, in particular, every sense has been invited; the smell of ocean life – seaweed and fish, the sound of the waves crashing upon themselves, the feel of the warm moist air on my skin, the slightly salty taste on my lips and the green blue liquid of the ocean convening with the brown granules of sand – where the two most important elements in life (water and earth) commune with a gentle passion. My reflections have led me to understand the importance of travel and the unique and fundamental role it plays in shaping my understanding of the world and who I am in this life.
Travel is to me is art. The stories and experiences of travelers creates a tapestry of what we believe to be intrinsically true about a place and our interaction with it at a given time. Wikipedia notes that art is the product or process of deliberately arranging symbolic elements in a way that influences and affects the senses, emotions and/or intellect. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, sculpture, painting and photography. That is travel, we arrange our vacations in many different ways which influences the individual traveller and arouses her senses. Travel is an activity that creates and stirs emotion, travel is a stimulant that invigorates the senses and for me, this blog is a living book drawing with words and pictures the meaning of life in that place at a particular time.
Like art, travel is personal it is a unique expression of the individual. I look at some travel pictures taken by friends and family and I see picture after picture of a resort, or a pool, or the house they rented and the meals they cooked. That to me is a bit like Monet. I get it- but I don’t like it. Monet is the father of French impressionism, his contribution to art and a whole philosophy regarding the perception of landscape is beyond compare, and, I don’t like his work. Just as much as the thought of cooking while on vacation or being restricted to a resort is simply not the type of travel I desire; it is story and connection with a place in a particular time that is personal and beautiful.
A picture of someone being soaked by a wave, climbing a tree, tasting a new food- that excites my senses that speaks to the traveller that is uniquely me. I love a vacation that is raw, not planned, not scheduled and certainly not mapped out. I have recognized that while I travel with some destinations in mind, the journey is usually the most exciting part. Suffice to say that while I don’t enjoy Monet, I could stare at Picasso all day long. Best known for co-founding the cubist movement, Picasso was a dynamic artist that reached far beyond the philosophy of cubism- so perhaps my next vacation will find me cooking meals or hanging out on a resort! Like Picasso, the traveller can change the mood of the trip to suit the events that circumscribe the travel. As I reflect upon the travels, far and near, that I have taken in my life I recognize that they were all unique to me and to that time and to that place. The roads I have travelled and the words that I write are as authentic and raw as Picasso. These journeys forever change the person that I am, my thoughts, beliefs and perceptions and that is precisely what travel should do. For me Picasso stands as a reminder that no two journeys are the same. Priorities, destinations and desires change and that is the beauty of travel as art.