As I said yesterday, one of our assignments for my travel writing class was to write introductions. We read three styles of introductions written by three different authors and then we had to use those as models for writing our own introductions. This piece is modeled after the way Henry David Thoreau began his essay Walking.
Often, I find myself thinking about place. Places to travel, places to pass through, places to visit, places to go, places to call home. I believe that places are important to us. They have a hold on us: something between a firm grasp and the lightest touch, but they do have an impact on who we are and what we do. I also believe that places must not only be seen, but they must be experienced, not just by doing, but by being. In today’s world of media, technology and information, it is a true skill to just let yourself be. Not many know how to do it. I have to work at it. It involves being quiet (in your voice and in your mind), not “doing” anything and being a sponge, taking everything in with every sense: seeing, listening, feeling, smelling, and tasting.
I don’t pretend to be good at this, but I think to truly attempt to know a place, one must at least try to just be.