Musing on the challenge of seeing places fresh and through my own eyes when so many are so familiar to me from TV, movies, and online images.
To see the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews on our 2012 trip to Scotland, we took what seemed to be a city bus cross-country from Edinburgh, successfully making a transfer (trickier than you’d think, honest!) and feeling quite the intrepid travellers. As we neared our destination, rolling farm country gave way to links landscape. Who needs trees?
They filmed the opening scene of Chariots of Fire here. As I stood above this beach, my mind’s eye offered me young men running joyously or doggedly through the surf, and I could almost hear the movie’s theme song over the wind and the shrieks of the gannets as they fed, just offshore.
Inundated by images — print, TV, movies, online — it’s less and less often that my first sight of a place is in person. Sometimes that reduces my pleasure in a place. Sometimes the other associations enhance my experience. Sometimes the fun is to find my own perspective, my own way to see it.