Monday, 26 May 2008

"That day my eyes were opened...." ~ Famous quotations and what they mean to me.

A beach in the Isle of Wight
A rare photograph of me infront of the camera... daydreaming on a beach in the Isle of Wight

Kris from Chasing Fireflies tagged me on a meme to write about my favourite quptations. Well, it may come as no surprise to you there are many quotations that have caught my heart over the years. So, I may write more than one post in response to this meme. However, today I will focus on my favourite travel quotes.... those that I have used on my blog page.

1) "For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and the hitches of our life more nearly; to come off this feathered bed of civilisation, and find the globe granite under foot and strewn with cutting flints." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

A journey through the sinai
A photograph taken on my trek through the amazing Sinai Desert, Egypt.

This quote needs no explaining, Stevenson captures the sentiment perfectly. To travel, to experience and to learn......

2) "The road diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled" ~ Robert Frost

Savernake Forest 31
This is a photograph taken on an early morning wander through Savernake forest, a short distance from where I live.

With travel so widely available many locations are being flooded with western commercialism, with western food, and with western shops and very often at western prices. To see the world for what it really is, we need to step away from the tourist route, and poke our heads down the little alleys, walk over the hill or row to the next shore.

3) "We think too small. Like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view." - Mao Tse-Tung

Auschwitz Concentration Camp  - Poland
A photograph taken from the Control Tower in Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland.

I have often recounted my experience in Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland, but it did have an enormous impact on me. To the extent that for many months after, I would get tearful at memory of the visit. Through school I had learned about the two World wars. I had also seen many films and documentaries on TV. I thought I knew about the holocaust, but nothing prepared me for the journey that I took that day. To walk through the corridors full of faces; the rooms full of human hair, spectacles and suitcases; the rubble of the gas chambers; the railway line that brought innocent people to their deaths..... That day my eyes were opened..... The words of Mao Tse-Tung so beautifully capture the fact that we think we know everything, when in fact we know very little. To learn, we need to look... to open our eyes and peer outside the well.

4) "All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it."- Samuel Johnson

Breakfast....  Mmmmmmmm
A photograph taken whilst our Bedouin Guides were preparing breakfast for us during our trek through the Sinai Desert.

My journey through the Sinai Desert in Egypt was my first real experience of this. Coming from a first world country to spend time with the Bedouins of the desert taught me so much about how complacent we are, and how we live in such a "superficial and throw away" society. No longer do I spend my life worrying about what colour to paint my kitchen and what car to have next... Now I spend my life being grateful that I can turn on a tap to get water, and turn up the thermostat to warm the house.

Whilst walking with my Bedouin guide one day, I asked him how he felt about taking us on the trek through the desert. He turned to me and said "It is an enormous honour for me, that such wealthy people from a faraway land would want to spend time with with me and experience my surroundings". That night I lay in my sleeping bag looking up to the stars and thought about his words. I realised that it was I who should be honoured, as he was spending time with me, teaching me the true value of life. It was a very humbling and emotional experience...... one that I shall never ever forget.

5) "Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel."- Francis Bacon 1561-1626: Essays (1625) 'Of Travel'

A lagoon in the Amazon
A photograph taken of caimen enjoying the sun in a lagoon deep in the Amazon Rainforest

As I mentioned in my profile introduction - The biggest reward I get from travelling is the education of new cultures, meeting new people, and learning more about myself. No matter whether it is a walk in a local woodland area or a trek through a new country - each time I travel I come back a little more educated and a lot more humble.

I was in my car the other day and was listening to an interview with a musician who explained that she could see musical notes as colours. When she listened to a piece of music, she could close her eyes and see an amazing display of shades of colours that formed an ever changing picture.... I get a similar feeling when travelling. I often experience a sensory overload that on occasions can be quite suffocating. Whilst floating down the river in the Amazon rainforest, everywhere I turned I saw new sights; every breath I took, I experienced new scents; every noise I heard was like a new symphony. At times it was impossible for my little brain to absorb everything. I either had to close my eyes, cover my ears or hold my breath. There is always so much to learn, so much to experience, so much to enjoy.

The amazing statue of Christ the Redeemer
A photograph taken at the top of Corcovada Mountain in Rio De Janeiro, at the feet of "Christ The Redeemer"

Thank you Kris, for such a thought provoking tag, it was most enjoyable to complete. To this end, I would like to open this Meme to all of my readers. I would dearly love to hear your favourite quotations and what they mean to you.

Cheerio for now,

Graham x


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Graham.

This is by far, my favorite...

"We think too small. Like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view." - Mao Tse-Tung

You are brilliant!

Getty72 said...

Thank you Kris, and thanks for the amazing tag. It was such an enjoyable meme to complete.

HollyGL said...

What a lovely blog you have. This meme was especially thought provoking. I enjoyed your story about the musician who sees notes as colors. How lovely would that be...

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I truly enjoy reading your insights, you're definitely someone I can learn from myself - being new to travel.

I'll keep this meme in consideration, I just may do it myself :o)

The shot in the forest, is so magical, I absolutely love that shot - PERFECT!!!

Have a great day :)

meleah rebeccah said...

2) "The road diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled" ~ Robert Frost

That is ONE of MY all time favorite quotes as well.

You did a FANTASTIC job on this meme, It was nice to see you IN FRONT of the camera for once...

RainforestRobin said...

Hi dear Graham, I could not believe the writing in this piece. My word it is good. It brought tears to my eyes. That story of the Bedouin really shook a good way. I am so touched that you appreciated it and saw it for the gift it was. But I would have expected no less from you. So beautiful. Boy you REALLY take in what is around you when you travel...a lot of people don't do that. It's all about them and getting somewhere.

I also love the part about floating down the Amazon and taking in the sights, smells, etc. That was amazing writing. This is a first class job here. I am honored that you take the time to share it. For me it is a gift.

Getty72 said...

Hollygl, I agree... to be able to see colours when hearing music must be wonderful (unless the music is really!). Thank you for your kind comment!

Wayfaring wanderer, I do hope you have a go at this meme sometime. I would love to hear about what inspires you and what your favourite quotations are. The day I took the photographs in the forest was probably the most perfect morning that I have ever experienced in England... everything was just amazing, I just had to click the trigger on my camera - nature did the hard work.

Getty72 said...

hey Meleah :) That quote is so inspirational... it always reminds me of who I am, and makes me stop and think. And thanks for your comment about my photograph, I'm far too shy to make a cameo appearance too!

Robin, thank you! thank you! thank you! You cannot realise how much it means to me, to hear that others gain some enjoyment from my writings. I am only able to write from my inside... my blog has become a release valve for all the things that buzz around inside my head and heart.

Getty72 said...

A big thank you too all of you for such kind comments. I really truly appreciate them.

Graham's Photobook....Through The Eyes Of A Dreamer

Please click on the link below to view or purchase my new book.