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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Scenic touring and tips on appreciating ‘the picturesque’ nature of travel

Romantic travel writer and artist William Gilpin gives tips on how to get the most out of ‘scenic touring’ in his 1794 piece ‘On Picturesque Travel’ that are just as relevant to travel now as they were over 200 years ago:
1. Seek out novel experiences and new destinations.
"The first source of amusement to the picturesque traveller is the pursuit of his object – the expectation of new scenes continually opening, and arising to his view… Under this circumstance the mind is kept constantly in an agreeable suspense... Every distant horizon promises something new…”

2. Take time to take it all in.

“After the pursuit we are gratified with the attainment of the object. Our amusement… arises from the employment of the mind in examining the beautiful scenes we have found. Sometimes we examine them under the idea of a whole: we admire the composition, the colouring, and the light, in one comprehensive view.”

3. Allow your senses to be assaulted!

"We are most delighted when some grand scene… rising before the eye, strikes us beyond the power of thought… and every mental operation is suspended… an enthusiastic sensation of pleasure overspreads it… the general idea of the scene makes an impression, before any appeal is made to the judgment. We rather feel, than survey it."

4. Make meaning from the experience.

“Our next amusement arises from enlarging and correcting our general stock of ideas. The variety of nature is such that new objects, and new combinations of them, are continually adding something to our fund, and enlarging our collection… the same kind of object occurring frequently is seen under various shapes, and makes us... more learned in nature.”

5. Let one experience enrich the next...

"We are, in some degree, also amused by the very visions of fancy itself. Often, when slumber has half closed the eye, and shut out all the objects of sense, especially after the enjoyment of some splendid scene; the imagination, active and alert, collects it's scattered ideas, transposes, combines, and shifts them into a thousand forms, producing such exquisite scenes, such sublime arrangements, such glow, and harmony of colouring, such brilliant lights, such depth, and clearness of shadow, as equally foil description..."

6. Start dreaming about new places to see all over again.

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