Movement through landscapes


If you’re sitting on a train, do you think of yourself as stationary or moving? Think about it for a second.

Growing up, I used to love long journeys. I would look out of the car window for hours and experience snapshot after snapshot of this wild world I was a part of. Each image showed me something new and valuable about nature, farming, design and my culture. Like a camera flash, each picture illuminated a thought or realization that would lead to a daydream I could bathe in until the next image came along. It was all about experience, creativity and progress.

Over the past few years, I have come to realize that not everyone experiences travel in this way. Many people pull the curtains closed and play with their phones. Others chat with their loved ones or read a book. I understand now that some, maybe most, people see themselves as inside a vehicle in the same way as they might see themselves as inside a cafe or house. They are, in their practice at least, stationary.

Perhaps that’s why bicycles and motorbikes feel different – there’s no separation from the world around us, and we find ourselves travelling through a landscape we are a part of.

For me and many others I’m sure, travelling overland always feels this way and I feel extremely lucky whenever I have the opportunity to become part of the landscapes that surround me and fly through millions of snapshots of life. Every time, I’m overwhelmed by the beauty and simplicity of these precious moments that perfectly demonstrate our humanity. A farmer working his land, children playing in a rice field, an elderly couple cleaning their home – each image says so much about what is beautiful in life.

Of course, sitting still and watching the world pass us by is equally special. As is walking, moving at a slower pace. But there’s definitely something magical about the gift of a million little snapshots of this world we live in, each one a celebration of life… a gift.

If you’re one of the people who would usually experience the inside of your vehicle, I would definitely recommend taking some time to venture into the landscape and take a few snapshots of your own. You may even discover the meaning of life.

— in Phan Thiet.


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