Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Eccentric Concept

So now that you know a bit about me, let me tell you about the concept for my blog.

'Eccentric' means different things to different people... I am influenced by this following extract from the website of the Eccentric Club:

Definitions of 'eccentricity' and 'eccentrics' have changed a number of times throughout history and, unfortunately, in the recent times became more associated with some ‘slightly mad’ or too extravagant individuals as well as various kinds of exhibitionists and attention seekers.

We think it is about time to re-define the very subject of eccentricity and to attempt to restore the original meaning of it.

Eccentrics of the past and some of the present ones (which for known reasons often refuse to be associated with the eccentrics or labelled as such) are generally very reasonable, talented and educated in a number of fields people, often fairly practical and yet very artistic and original. In our understanding, eccentricity is a reluctance to be bound by social, spiritual, scientific, political, esthetical or any other limitations and an everlasting desire to explore every manifestation of life around us for the benefit of gaining personal experience and translating it through various mediums such as art, business, science, social events - to the others, to the society, and, in particular, those individuals which are seeking new knowledge and experience and are ready to perceive it...

When I am traveling, I concern myself with what is most mind-expanding about the places I find myself in. What is unique about this place? What kinds of innovation does it nurture? What is the most inspiring and heartening thing about it? In what way is it an improvement on other places, and in what ways does it lag behind? How does this place enter my imagination, and what can I do with this new information?

A good way to realise the role of an eccentric is to think about a tourist approaching the Mona Lisa. Most people arrive at the back of the large crowd assembled around it, slowly make their way to the front of the pack, and then take a photograph of the painting in which Leonardo's masterpiece is as centred and upright as possible.

What does an eccentric do? They take photos of the crowd itself, recognising that this is an authentic part of the viewing experience. They take a photo of the painting at a tilt, acknowledging the dizzying excitement of seeing it for the first time, even though the crowd initially appeared to dull the event. An eccentric may choose to stand with their back to the painting itself and watch the faces of the others for a while.

Of course, many highly motivated original wanders off the main tourist trail and finds themselves having adventures very few other travelers care to cultivate. They find a home away from home, finding an appealing combination of blending in and standing out which endears them to the locals while generating much interest. 

My point is, an eccentric doesn't look at things like most people. They are interested in unusual perspectives and unconventional approaches to life. They swim against the tide, and often lead the way for others to realise that they too can be a bit braver, more open or ingenious. Eccentrics play an important role in society, but more importantly, they have some of the most interesting travel experiences because they aren't afraid to try new things!

I believe that the world is full of people who want to share their world with me - and all I have to do is stimulate them in the right way, wait, and listen - and then I'm on the way of building paradigm-shifting new relationships.

I believe that travel is about people, even though I invariably end up with more photos of architecture than close-ups of faces. I believe that new visual and built styles can be very exciting, but they mean nothing without the exploration of the psyches for which they were developed. Each environment is the product of its people...

I have stopped looking at chairs as inanimate objects with no relevance to the human world. If you think about it, each chair was dreamed up by a person with a vision, and each section of the chair was made by human hands (or by a machines which was made by human hands), and glued together by yet another creative and soulful human being who specialises in making the chair reach its highest potential.

The ability to be fascinated and enthralled by different cultures on an ongoing and nearly incessant basis is a sign of eccentricity in a world where taking your everyday life for granted is the norm. Appreciating the lifestyle of a culture outside my home base of Sydney helps me appreciate Sydney's uniqueness all the more when I return; being a more frequent foreigner makes me be a better, more inspired and spirited local.

Welcome to Eccentric Travels! x

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