Slow Travel

Slow Travel and the Appeal of ‘Going Overseas’

What is it that we seek?
For certain, it is a country’s Modernism, History, Art, Culture, People, Dance and Music, Food and Beverage and scenic Vistas. But we cannot deny, either – because there is within us all a sense of Adventure – that travel, or Going Overseas, provides us with a cloak of Anonymity and therefore an opportunity to re-invent ourselves.

Some cities may house modern and artistic structures and buildings or public spaces and public transport systems due to their government’s more enlightened, future-oriented planning and support.

Where there has been continual human settlement we may be able to see (and touch) the remains of significant historic structures.

Cave Church - Matera Sassi Italy

Within these ancient structures we may find works of art of outstanding quality in wood, stone, glass, ceramics, mosaics or applied paint.

Perugia 2013

A cultural tradition of tonally and rhythmically different dance and music may also have caused its people as a race to move to an intriguingly different ‘beat’. This can manifest itself in many interesting and rewarding ways.

Pre-wedding Street Celebrations Tangier Maroc

The food of this culture will likely be exotically different – or maybe just superior. And we may choose to savour that foreign difference, too . . . . . . or not?

Frogs - Singapore

Tripe - Napoli Italy
Foto Foto
Locations we find ourselves in will often be the antithesis of our home surrounds and provide exotic or photogenic subjects and stunning vistas (and out comes the ‘phone or iPad)

We may find ourselves in a rustic village . . . click click . . .

Or among a small tribal community whose children beam curious and beatific smiles at us . . . click click . . .

We might laze on a sweep of white-sand beach fringed with coconut palms . . . click click . . .

To then bathe in the warm, turquoise waters of its lagoon . . . click click . . .

Or sail its offshore, islet studded waters . . . click click . . .

And we may find ourselves beside a tranquil lake and there gaze upon its backdrop of verdant, bush-clad contours perfectly mirrored under a clear blue sky . . . click click . . . Or at a silent lakeside we’ll pause to absorb the grandeur of distant alpine peaks set among a pristine wilderness and . . . . . . click click . . . . . . 3784 images and still 2GB to spare –

Landscape NZ

‘Ohau Road’, Collection of Peter Alsop, Alexander Turnbull Library NZ

Anonymity & Adventure
Travel provides an opportunity to be anonymous and to LET OUR HAIR DOWN.

Distancing ourselves from those who know us affords us an opportunity to behave, perhaps, in a more ‘liberated’ manner than at home.

“Will I?” Cartoon

“Won’t I?”

“Why the hell not?”

Slow-Travel and Lingering Longer
In spite of air travel Planet Earth is still amazingly large with numerous diverse countries and inhabitants. Many travellers claim to be trying to see “the entire world” and are stacking up an impressive list of places they have been to. But they are unlikely to truly know each place or its people in any depth, if it all.

Quality not quantity – the Old bull says to the Young bull that is contemplating all the heifers in the paddock.

Far better to linger longer in each place: We gain a cumulative familiarity and a deeper understanding of its history, food, culture and people. “It is the people we meet on our travels that make the journey remarkable.”

And in return visits we can find golden moments.

To be greeted by a welcoming smile of recognition from resident folk you had previously befriended when travelling is both a boost to the ego, and heart-warming. If we are lucky, our acquaintance will offer to share with us the best of local mutual interests too.

“Travel destinations should not be just a ‘BUCKET LIST’ of names to be crossed off as we rush headlong to the next.”

Zamoa’s Places that Appeal
Based on food & beverage, architecture, history and vibe – in no particular order

Caceres & Trujillo – Spain
Zaragosa – Spain
Bilbao – Spain
Granada – Spain
Goa – India
Perugia – Italy
Sicilia – in toto
Vietnam – in toto
Singapore – in toto
Western Samoa – in toto
Porto – Portugal
Evora – Portugal
Larache – Morocco
Marrakech – Morocco

Travel-Worn & Stressed

Fashions In Clothing

Texas Cowboys - Artist Ann Rogers
Pic: Texas Cowboys – Artist Ann Rogers

Back in the ’60s I was buying American denim jeans and jackets from my friends, merchant seamen on the UK to NZ run via Panama. I was buying them to sell in NZ as they were unavailable in our country at the time. Wrangler, Levi Straus, Lee Cooper and Lee Rider clothing was just making its mark on the world and the enterprising ship’s crew would buy-up large in Panama, both going south, and north – of course, we were avoiding onerous legalities like Customs Duties. These new jeans were renowned for their fabric’s toughness. That, plus the allure of the articles’ associated imagery with America’s ‘cowboys’.

Blue Denims

The original denim was really tough; in fact it was so ‘firm’ it was initially uncomfortable to wear and the strong blue dye could leave you blue-skinned. My sailor friends, when they bought a pair of these jeans for themselves, would tow them behind the ship for a few days to soften them up and fade the colour.

Dress Denims

Another decade or so on and the manufacturers were pre-fading the jeans and softening them by ‘stone-washing’ – literally tumbling them in a barrel of water with stones in it. This literally shortened the life of the once robust denim by years – but, the market rules and ‘the customer is always right’ – right?

Another decade on and the durability and toughness of the denim was no longer a selling point. The manufacturers and marketers realised their customers didn’t give a hoot about durability; they just wanted the faded denim look and a neat fit. While this coincided with a demand for coloured denim: white, pale blue, orange, green and red, too, it was all about the back pockets’ stitched design – the early days of serious branding to come.

Pocket Detail - Blue Denims

Another decade and we’re into the 2000s and ‘quality’ is turned on its head. While people in less affluent countries and with more fixed traditions were attempting to dress smartly, those more affluent folk in the so-called ‘Developed World’ were dressing-down – in a big way.

Grunge music and clothes fashion started in Seattle in the USA and while it certainly embraced dressing down, it, like the career of the American actor Rip Torn, predated the fashion of Pre-stressed Clothing, a unique and exclusively Western phenomenon of the 21st Century.

Torn Denims

Pre-stressed clothing may represent one of the strangest clothing fashions yet because, as the word ‘fashion’ implies, these clothes can be very costly. For some reason, the marketers had decided it was ‘Rip Torn’ Jeans that the public wanted. And the public must have wanted, because a pair of (what many of us would call ruined) pre-stressed jeans can cost in the hundreds of dollars. So jeans with shredded fabric, tears and holes became a desirable item to wear (for some). The idea, I can only guess, is to look poor (in a $300 pair of raggedy jeans?); to appear as though you can afford only the one pair of denims you bought several years ago and, woe is you, they are so-o-o-o worn now but, hey, what can you do (said with a modest shrug)? And this strange fashion still persists to this day. It could make a good subject for a thesis by a student of Psychology.

Far be it for me to judge the gullibility of the fashion-conscious public and the evident brilliance of the marketers but, an image does come to mind: a chubby, Buddha-like figure laughing uncontrollably at the folly of mankind in the face of this demonstrable evidence that some people in our ‘Developed’ World not only have far, far too much money (or too easy access to ‘credit’ – which may equate to the same thing), but that these same people clearly lack some intrinsic, basic intelligence.

SmileyOops. Did I say that?