Friday, January 12, 2007

Studio Friday - Travels

From Studio Friday:

"Travelling is a wonderful possibility to open for new inspiration and ideas. I´ll say it´s actually one of the greatest advantages to travelling!

A lot of new impressions and probably also new materials to bring home for future artwork. Maybe new friends - who knows? Anyway, I thought it could be very interesting to know where other bloggers travel. And if you don´t travel right now because of limited econonomy or other restrictions - I think we always travell in our mind: dreaming of somewhere in the countryside - or maybe a big city loaded with museums, galleries and flea markeds for new "input" for our studios and art."

~ Hanne

Real-life travelling--

Because my husband is Swedish, with all of this family still living in Sweden, and because we are currently paying off our house, building our savings, etc., money isn't in such high supply that we can go just anywhere we want to, whenever we want. When we do travel, a lot of it will be to Sweden, probably, so that we can visit Donald's family. I've been twice so far-- once before and once since our marriage.

The things that struck me most on my trips abroad--
  • In my eyes, the beauties of the countryside far outweign the attractions of the city, no matter what country I'm in.
  • That said, the verdigris copper roofs in Stockholm are charming, and the "Old City" is the epitomy of "quaint". (But I can't imagine living there in such cramped conditions!)
  • Oh, how I love being able to understand what people are saying nearly 100% of the time! The communication barrier is painful, after a while-- and this is in a country where the majority of citizens can speak or understand some English!
  • However, it is freeing, for a while, to not even have to bother interacting with strangers. This is in part because of the language barrier (my husband gets to deal with communication issues), but is also due to the fact that Swedes in general are much less likely to strike up random conversations with strangers. (It is even considered rude, by some!)
  • All Swedes are not fair-haired and blue-eyed. ;o)
  • The age of the structures-- the ancient burial mounds-- the stone circles placed by pagan hands-- the knowledge that there are records here going back for hundreds and hundreds of years! What a sense of history all around you!

We have also travelled somewhat within the US-- to Atlanta, New Orleans, Orlando, the Everglades, and up to the Smokey Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Appalachians will always hold a place in my heart because of all the times I went up there on family trips, before I was married. I think of them as cool, lush, beautifully misted places where you're never far from the soothing plash of a mountain stream (or the roar of a waterfall!) or a wildflower-starred valley full to the brim of golden sunshine, and where you might just catch a black bear in the gloaming, if you keep your eyes open.

For my "mental travelling"--

I guess I sometimes go back in my mind to the places I've actually been-- a certain field in Sweden-- Mingus Mill in the Smokies. I also frequent Prince Edward Island, as described by L. M. Montgomery, one of my favorite authors. Her descriptions of natural beauty always strike a chord in me. They remind me of scenes I myself have witnessed. They bring back the sense of magic I had as a girl soaking up the twilights and sunsets of my formative years. In many ways, they are a time machine for me, giving me a glimpse back into a past made lovelier by years gone by. No present could be quite so lovely as the past that is softened by a forgetfulness of all but beauty...

Ok, enough platitudes. My old writing teacher would say I was being "trite"-- as he did say, more than once. Hmph! ;o)

I dream so much more of "somewhere in the countryside" than of big cities. Cities can be exciting, in their place, but they tire me out and sometimes even frighten me. (I feel safer on a lonely but familiar woodland path than on a street corner. People are more likely to hurt you than plants or animals.) I'm usually happy to leave the city behind me and find peace and relative solitude in more natural surroundings.

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