I have never had a keen interest in history before I started traveling. However, the more of the world I see, the more questions I have about what it contains. I’ve noticed that just over the course of a few years, my perception of things went from admiring their appearance, to questioning their creation. I’m starting to find that the beauty of something comes more from the stories that surround its existence. And I think this is a good thing.
That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come to Europe. Italy in particular. There is no doubting the fame and exquisiteness of the country. Almost everyone can name at least one or more landmarks here. Not to mention Italy has one of the most popular cuisines in the world. However, I feel it’s the antiqueness of everything that makes it wonderful. I find myself emphasizing the age of something more than I do its beauty. But I’m not just thinking about how much time has passed since it was put together. I’m thinking about how much life it has absorbed since then.
Now I don’t know how I feel about the idea of energies and emotions being passed between people and objects; but a part of me believes that when something is structured, it takes in the personalities of the hands that build it, in addition to providing some spiritual or emotional influence on the environment that surrounds it. The history of an object is not just composed of the processes by which it was created; it includes the lives of the builders and the passions behind their motives. That is why art can be so expensive. People don’t pay for the colors, the paper, or the brushstrokes; they pay for the passion, the ideals, and the stories behind the art. They pay for the emotions it gives them.
Travelers live on this idea as well. Some may wonder why a person would fly 16+ hours, or pay thousands of dollars to see a building, witness an event, or eat a different kind of food. Why not look at pictures on the internet? Or try a new restaurant? Because no one flies halfway across the world to “see” something new. Just as no one spends a six-months salary to “try” something different. They pay for the experience; for the emotions they are likely to have when they arrive at a new place.
To be in an old building in an old town, wondering about all the lives spent and passed there. Imagining the millions of untold stories and well-kept secrets. It’s a magnificent feeling. Be it an art piece from the Renaissance period, or an old medieval town in the Austrian countryside…fiction can’t compare to authentic history, and to visit a place that breathes it is priceless.