Updated: May 15, 2019
'Mused: A Series' is the product of my love for travel and my passion for writing. It’s not a series of travel blogs nor is it something meant for guidance on the places to which they pertain. The pieces are meant to dive into these cities, towns, locales. Give a myriad of glimpses, a kaleidoscope of perceptions of each place and this mixed with history and experiences. The series will have original photos and stories, facts and details with the purpose of sharing the feel and atmosphere of the subjects.
to muse, verb, /mjuːz/
– : to gaze thoughtfully at.
“This, in the end, is the prime purpose of a philosophy: to give us lucid ways to think about the world and how to live in it.” – Daniel Klein
I long wondered how to do this. Write about travel. Because there is now an array of "10 things you must see when visiting XYZ" pieces and while I find those to be incredibly helpful when I travel, they are not my style. Much like when I pack, I cannot travel lite nor I cannot write lite. My favorite thing about travels is the reflections that accompany it. History of other cultures and religions and countries makes you reflect on your own. Foreign food compares to your native tastes and new music moves your spirit in unexpected ways.
There's an art to meandering the streets of foreign city; getting lost on purpose forces your eyes to observe and your ears to listen. You find a local coffee shop with plastic chairs and people-watch from the shade. A step outside of your comfort zone and your attention is heightened, but if you allow yourself to feel the discomfort, it will provide you with valuable insight about yourself. Musing on something is seeing, listening, hearing, feeling, breathing in what's in front of you and reflecting on those impressions and your reaction to them. It's the essence of the saying "the world is your classroom."
to travel, verb, /ˈtrav(ə)l/
- : to make a journey, typically of some length.
"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."
- Henry Miller
Traveling is a privilege, one I've enjoyed a great deal of in my life. Traveling isn't something everyone has the means or the ability to do, and through the glamoured lens of Instagram we often don't see the full picture of the world portrayed. Travel is expensive and exhaustive for most, and though I love the thrill of trying new foods in an exciting city, there's something to be said for "home, sweet home."
No, traveling is not all fine and dandy. It's often stressful, dirty, sleepless, and not always what you expected. Nevertheless, travel has been, by far, the greatest thing to happen to my personal development. The exposure to things, landscapes, cities, religions, cultures, people different from my own tiny part of the world has been key to developing my empathy, tolerance, and acceptance. Traveling is a mirror because contrast creates clarity and different exposures color your view.
to write, verb, /rʌɪt/
- : to mark (letters, words, or other symbols) on a surface, typically paper, with
a pen, pencil, or similar implement.
"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any."
- Orson Scott
Stories hold special power over our lives. The ones we tell ourselves - about who we are, our purpose, our values. The ones we tell others - about how we see the world, our politics, our gossip. The ones the world tells us - about the norms in societies, the expectations, the 'rules'. Stories are magical fiction that binds us together AND make us diverse. We don't think much of it, but most of our lives are comprised of fiction we've simply chosen to believe to be true. Religion. Cultures. Nations. Values. Elaborate stories are the core of what composes human history. They are what determine norms and trends, they are the underlying currents, they are the overarching narrative.
I believed in Hogwarts and waved wooden spoons around at a child. I now believe in human rights and the concept of equality. I've grown up believing in Denmark and democratic socialism. But with time I've been exposed to other stories, other ways of living, other belief systems. We often reject or even fear what and those who we don't understand, those whose stories we don't know or don't agree with - yet we forget that these fictions are entirely of our making, so what really makes one story better than the other? What makes one story more true than the next?
Stories are a vital part of our lives, and investigating both my own and others' is a way of understanding the world more deeply. It creates empathy, because if you listen, actively listen, to the stories someone tells you, you will find that you're totally different and terribly similar all at the same time.