Earlier this week the Indie Travel Manifesto, which had twenty four declarations about independent travel, was posted. One that stood out to me was Slow Down and Enjoy an Experience. After reading them, a particularly intriguing article got me thinking.
If we simply slow down a little, it is truly amazing what we could notice that goes on around us.
One example deemed a “social experiment” by The Washington post, staged for a violinist to play intricate classical music for 45 minutes during morning rush hour at a Washington D.C. train station. With cameras rolling and reporters scattered amongst commuters to see how many people would respond to the music, his first attention amazingly came from children. Now for the twist; the violinist (Joshua Bell a Grammy-Award winner) was striking out some of the most complicated tunes on a 17th century violin standing near a trash can. Out of the thousand or so people who passed by, many did not even acknowledge or notice his presence as he played. The masses paused, instead, to plug cash into the nearby lotto machine.
Granted, not everyone is interested in classical music. I wouldn’t have recognized him on the spot. I would, however, have slowed down to listen guaranteed! In fact, one time while in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, I spontaneous dropped my pack to dance to guitar tunes along a snowy street.
When the group Spiritus Mundi was just beginning I met its founder Henrik Melius. The group who’s name means “soul of the world”, travels mainly between Sweden and the Middle East to foster “intercultural dialog” by using creative forms of expression like: music, imagery and dance. Melius says, “There is value in intercultural dialogue between countries with great fundamental differences. Is it not more important to create meeting grounds between those who don’t think or live the same way? Dialogue is not to agree with one another, it is being a part of change. It is better to loosen knots than to tighten them.”
Music is rooted in every culture and plays a significant role not only within a society but also within ourselves. For you Grateful Dead fans out there; Oliver Sacks wrote an essay called The Last Hippie about a man, who after having brain surgery to remove a tumor, could only recall memories while listening to “Dead” music.
What about you? Have you taken the time to slow down and enjoy some music in your travels?