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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Travel Inspiration II - The Ordinary

Travel and inspiration are the themes for the next couple posts. I mentioned in a previous post about Ruins, and how they’re like a bolt of lightning to the creativity centers of my mind, but ruins are almost too obvious a source for inspiration. Another way travel inspires, is in experiencing the mundane in a foreign country. Those things the locals take for granted.

It is the ordinary that can really have an impact. I italicize “ordinary” because the one thing you learn when you travel is that “ordinary” is an entirely subjective term. Case-in-point: We moved to Victoria a couple years ago, and I asked everyone, "So, is there anything cool to check out around here?" We were told the typical stuff, "Parliament building, gardens ... etc"  but no one, not a single person, told us that two blocks from where we lived, tucked just a bit out-of-the-way, was Craigdarroch Castle ... A real castle. It's where I now take my son so he can play on the grounds.

Oh, and here's a picture:

It needn't been something so grand as a castle though. It could be something as simple as a view, or an item  hidden in plain sight (or hidden out of sight). I remember waiting for a bus in Japan and looking down at manhole cover (picture below) and wondering why in the world the city would spend the money on making such unique covers to manholes. I'll throw up a few images of the ordinary places/things I’ve seen that I’ve found inspirational.

How about you? Have you come across anything while traveling that everyone seems to take for granted? Something remarkable that no one notices? Maybe you live somewhere that most people seem to miss.

Door in Venice (there are lots of doors)

Bamboo Forest
Manhole Cover in Yokkaichi, Japan
Himeji Castle - I used to jog around this place at night.

Venice, Italy
Door knob in Venice



Cielle said...

I'm really enjoying these posts on travel. I love to look at the small things that people tend to take for granted, and though I don't travel as often as I would like to (which would probably require me to quit my job and find a very wealthy sponsor), I always gravitate toward the non-touristy experiences. I write mostly fantasy, so it's been particularly helpful. Seeking out the everyday things that are the same and those that are different can help you create new cultures in your writing that are alien, but still feel real.

Robin said...

I can't travel often, but I do love it. I lived in Spain for two terms in college, and traveled from there to other places--I loved it. The views, the architecture, and the history of the different places were all inspiring to me. That, and the fact that I was frequently being told that I wasn't in Spain, I was in Catalunya (a now-province which became part of Spain in the 1400s). It was the first time I witnessed people literally carrying centuries-long grudges, and I'm sure that will work into a story someday.

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