Travelling can impact us in so many ways. It often requires we think on our feet…respond to situations when and as they arise without being allowed time for our usual contemplation. It exposes us to new and interesting sensory information: sights, sounds, smells, and textures, all of which we store away for later use. It also provides hands on lessons in geography and or history.
I have just returned from a trip to with my family, to London, Wales and Ireland Some of the places we visited, we have visited before, but others were completely new to us. Both the familiar and the new provided different sorts of experiences.
Over the years, we have visited London close to ten times. We are in no way experts on the city, but we do know where in the city we like to stay, and the places we would most like to visit. We have even narrowed it down to a favorite hotel. Every visit we make to London, we choose a tourist attraction we would like to see. This time, we visited the National Gallery of Art and the Warner Brother’s Harry Potter Studios. Travelling with a seven year old means you need be diverse in your choices, but we all got something out of each of the attractions we saw.
We were visiting Wales primarily for my graduation from Aberystwyth University. Like London, we have visited Aberystwyth on many occasions. Sometimes we have stayed for as long as a week, using it as a base from which to visit various surrounding places. Much of the art I created for my studies was developed from sites we encountered upon these journeys. From Aberystwyth, we travelled by train, to Bangor, also in Wales. A bus in Bangor will take you to the base of Snowdon Mountain…a spectacular landmark rising high above the landscape. A steam train took us to the top of the mountain. Next time, I would like to walk.
From Bangor, we caught a train to Hollyhead, and from Hollyhead, a ferry to Dublin, Ireland. Now we were in completely different territory. A whole new set of sensory experiences. Ireland was amazing. Everywhere we visited, our surroundings seemed a little different from where we had come before. Heavily treed areas to barren rocky outlands, flat lands to soaring mountains, pastoral fields to dramatic coastal outcrops: new colours, new sounds, new smells, new textures. We saw a lot, but there was still much more we could have experienced. While London seemed alive with hustle and bustle, Dublin seemed alive with music. Music emanated everywhere in this city…from the buskers on the streets during the day, to the bars and restaurants hopping with bands and dancers at night. Given we had a minor, e could not partake in any of the night activities, but we did take in a performance of Riverdance. As well, we visited an exhibition at the National Gallery: Vermeer and his Contemporaries. Excellent!
How much of what we experienced will influence my work, is yet to be determined. The impact of the trip however, was immediate. It is amazing how much we each grew in just two weeks.